SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Thick irony

Tuesday, Feb 5, 2013

* The Tamms super-max prison kept inmates isolated almost all the time. That treatment led human rights groups to label the incarceration torture. When I visited some prisons several years ago, including Tamms, I couldn’t help but notice that the super-max prison was cleaner than the other prisons and, also unlike the other prisons, had decent climate control, wasn’t crowded and was quiet.

So, now that the super-max prisoners have been transferred to Pontiac, some have declared a hunger strike

The Chicago-based Uptown People’s Law Center said an estimated 10 prisoners are participating in the strike, which comes about a month after the inmates were transferred out of Tamms and into the older facility in Livingston County.

Key among their grievances is a lack of heat because of some of the retrofitting that was done in order to prepare Pontiac for the prisoners from Tamms. The prisoners are complaining that plexiglass panels installed on their cell doors block heat from entering their living areas, said Brian Nelson prison rights coordinator for the law center. […]

Nelson said the prisoners are upset that they don’t have televisions, radios, cleaning supplies, legal-sized envelopes and razors. In addition, he said they also are being forced to share nail clippers even though some men have illnesses.

“They are requesting that the clippers be sterilized after every use,” Nelson said.

The group says just ten former Tamms inmates are on hunger strike, but the Department of Corrections says that 47 inmates at Pontiac have recently declared they’re on hunger strikes.

* Meanwhile

A prison guard injured in a fight Monday at the Pontiac Correctional Center will undergo facial reconstructive surgery Thursday.

The unidentified officer received significant facial injuries, including a broken nose, when he was assaulted by an inmate.

The assault came a month after the Quinn administration moved inmates out of a southern Illinois lock-up designed for dangerous prisoners.

No way would I ever want to do that job. My hat’s off to all of them.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Feb 5, 13 @ 11:44 am:

    So the legal rights groups objected to Tamms and now are objecting to Pontiac. Just what are we supposed to do, release the prisoners?

    I agree - it’s a tough job and we should be thankful for those who do it.

  2. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Feb 5, 13 @ 12:45 pm:

    We have to fix this problem, or where are we going to keep our politicians?

  3. - Alan Mills - Tuesday, Feb 5, 13 @ 1:01 pm:

    As the Legal Director at the Uptown People’s Law Center, I wanted to answer the very good question posed by DuPage Dan. No one suggests that these guys should be released, nor is that anything they are asking for. What we should do is have prisons that are adequately staffed, and have space for all of the porisoners assigned to them. AFSCME has consistently made the point that there are hundreds of vacancies systemwide, which seriously interfer with prison operations. We agree.

    As long as Illinois insists on locking in prison thousands of people convicted of possessing small quantities of drugs, or cted of DUI’s, then the state will have to pay for additional staff, and space.

    It is a very good thing that the costly, ineffective, and inhumane Tamms supermax is closed. But that is hardly the end of the problems with Illinois’ prison system. The entire system needs to be fixed. CLosing a couple of costly, out dated facilities is only the start.

  4. - Sgtstu - Tuesday, Feb 5, 13 @ 1:31 pm:

    Alen Mills - I think you are missing the point of this post. These inmates cryed to you and anyone else who would listen. In turn the Gov. was asked to close this “inhuman prison”,. Well it was done and now the same inmates “worst of the worst” are crying they have it “worse” than they did at Tamms. I think Dupage Dan’s remark might be snark for, short of letting them out what more do they want ? Dupage if I am incorrect please let me know.

  5. - Sgtstu - Tuesday, Feb 5, 13 @ 1:31 pm:

    Cried x 2 sorry

  6. - so what - Tuesday, Feb 5, 13 @ 2:29 pm:

    No TV or Radio! What a crime, I have a solution..

  7. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 5, 13 @ 3:01 pm:

    Alan, please provide the numbers regarding the subjects incarcerated in Illinois prisons for possessing “small amounts” of drugs and for DUI offenses. Exactly how many are there and what percentage of the population are they?

  8. - Ava - Tuesday, Feb 5, 13 @ 3:24 pm:

    Was the prisoner who injured the officer one of the transferees from Tamms?

  9. - Ad - Tuesday, Feb 5, 13 @ 3:32 pm:

    Substituting one type of inhumane treatment (i.e., solitary confinement) for another (i.e., lack of heat)should not lead to a reductio ad absurdum argument that the only solution is for inmate release or that these concerns should be ignored.

    Stop criminalizing more and more behaviora, utilize alternative non-confinement sentences, and, above all, provide a safe and habitable environment for prisoners before placing them in any of these facilities. 

  10. - Chevy owner/Ford County - Tuesday, Feb 5, 13 @ 4:11 pm:

    Here’s hoping the hunger strike comes to a speedy end for each of these convicts. The prison needs the space.

  11. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Feb 5, 13 @ 4:52 pm:

    Sgtstu - you are correct.

    Mr Mills, are you suggesting that Tamms is outdated and inhumane? Outdated? compared to Pontiac? Uh, build dates would suggest otherwise.

    Inhumane? Compared to Pontiac? If that is so, why are the inmates complaining?

    Discussion about folks being convicted of possession of small amounts of drugs and DUIs is not really on topic, is it? Housing the most violent of the convicted criminals is the topic, no? Putting these very violent criminals into a prison not equipped to deal with them is a recipe for disaster - injuries to other prisoners and guards - isn’t that why many were sent to Tamms in the first place?

    While the conditions might make many uncomfortable, I would suggest that the prisoners can make their lives a little better if they stopped being so violent. Please spare us the explanations or excuses for their behavior - we all make choices in our lives. Their choice was to break the law in and out of prison.

  12. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Feb 5, 13 @ 5:04 pm:

    Ad, solitary confinement may be the only way to prevent these violent convicted felons from harming other inmates, guards and even themselves. There is a reality at play here. Some folks can’t, or won’t, conform their behavior to basic societal norms. They must be segregated from the public for our safety. If those folks continue to exhibit behavior that endangers others even in the restrictive environment of prison, more drastic measures become necessary. Being a mental health professional, I am aware that solitary confinement can exacerbate already existing mental conditions or can even cause them. What, then is your prescription for dealing with a person already convicted of a violent felony crime who continues to be violent to those around them while incarcerated? While some forms of therapy can have a positive impact on a person this can take years to have an effect. How do we protect staff and other inmates from the violent inmate while we await the transformation?

    Your post ignores the core issue at hand. It talks of alternative non-confinement sentences - NOT appropriate for violent offenders. It talks about seeking to end criminalizing certain behaviors - uh, sir, these folks have been convicted of violent crimes - we won’t be decriminalizing that behavior any time soon.

    Using latin will not make you sound more intelligent. You must connect those statements to logic - you failed to do so.

    Illegitimi non carborundum - keep on trying till you get it right.

  13. - Alan Mills - Tuesday, Feb 5, 13 @ 5:30 pm:

    Sgtstu–I chose to take Dan’s question as a serious inquiry. Whether he intended it that way or not, his was a good question, which deserved a serious answer.

    Anonymous–according to the IDOC Annual Report, 31.8% of all admissions to the IDOC are for technical violations of parole (e.g., no new crime). There are 1,762 prisoners convicted of DUI’s–enough to close an entire prison. There are over 9,000 prisoners convicted of controlled substances.

    When one looks at admissions (rather than static population fgigures, almost 40% are for drug offenses (note: the IDOC stopped reporting this stat in 2001).

  14. - State Worker - Tuesday, Feb 5, 13 @ 5:53 pm:

    === There are 1,762 prisoners convicted of DUI’s–enough to close an entire prison. === So you want to release them so they can go out and kill somebody when they drink and drive again? How would you feel if they killed your wife, daughter or son? It’s just a “DUI”. You amaze me.

  15. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 5, 13 @ 5:53 pm:

    thanks for the info. i figured less than a thousand for felony dui. MADD must have some pull.

  16. - Wally - Tuesday, Feb 5, 13 @ 10:20 pm:

    Mr. Mills 9000 for drugs? What do you think the major cause of all the gun and Gang violence is over? You sir don’t have a clue. I work around these guys 40+hours a week. Let these minor drug offenders out and have them move near you,your wife, and your kids. Not me mr. Mills

  17. - Southern illinoisan - Tuesday, Feb 5, 13 @ 10:36 pm:

    It is a dangerous job for sure and Governor Quinn and the GA will not honor a legally binding contract to pay a decent salary for staff who put their lives on the line for public safety. It would be nice if the public would support DOC staff in their time of need. Speak up and tell elected officials to do the right thing.

  18. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 6:13 am:

    - What do you think the major cause of all the gun and Gang violence is over? -

    I think it’s over the same thing as it was during prohibition, do you see many gang wars over booze these days?

  19. - Ad - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 10:32 am:

    Dupage Dan - although I do appreciate condescension as much as the next person, I think you may be the ones who misses the point. First, there are two distinct stories here. There is no evidence the prisoner in the second article was from or would have been assigned to Tamms, second, the solution to such attacks cannot be to place all inmates in solitary confinement for most of the day, third, overcrowding and potentially inhumane conditions and violence that result could be at least partially resolved by non-jail sentences for nonviolent offenders or reducing the number of actions that are classified as criminal conduct, fourth, freeing up this space could allow for more adequate safeguards for violent offenders, and fifth, lack of resources and money can never be an appropriate reason for any type of inhumane conditions. A sentence by a judge of x number of years in solitary confinement or without heat would raise protests on all manner of legal grounds. The State should not, de facto, institute such pinishment. Should they be restrained in shackles 24/7? Lobotomized? As a mental health professional, you may find it easier to not view these inmates as deserving of basic rights or legal protections. No Latin needed.

  20. - Cosmic Charlie - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 11:42 am:

    Rich, can you please point something out to the readers? I know you’re in favor of a certain degree of decriminalazation of drug offenses, but there seems to be a disconnect in all of these discussions. The question always seems to be “How many people are in prison due to drug/DUI offenses?” In this discussion the question should be “How many people are in Tamms/Pontiac for drug/DUI offenses?” The answer is, “Very few!” The same question posed with East Moline CC will yield a different answer….
    Closing the most secure facilities is problematic because it forces the most violent offenders to be mixed with less violent ones. As for “technical parole violators,” please keep a few things in mind. First, Advocates would have you believe that violators have done nothing wrong. In reality, a violator situation looks more like this. An inmate is paroled after serving 50% of their sentence for Aggrevated Battery. The conditions of their parole require them to call their Parole Officer once a week/month. Wear an ankle bracket. And not use drugs. Parolees are routinely given multiple “mulligans” before they are violated. Ask any PO. So a guy that serves 50% of his sentence and refuses to make a phone call, cuts of his bracelet and fails a drug test has done nothing wrong? If they wanted to stay out of prison they would follow those simple rules. Appearently, 32% can’t. I do not feel sorry for them…

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Happy Thanksgiving!
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Five unanswered questions
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Question of the day
* Caption contest!
* Crossing the line
* Moody's warns Illinois
* The Credit Union Difference
* *** UPDATED x1 - Franks responds *** Uh-oh
* Then and now
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's blog posts

Visit our advertisers...







Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

* MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Leather iPad Pro Bag From Intrepid Bag Co
* You can now delete sent messages in Viber
* Snag a $100 Google Play gift card for just $79.54 while stock lasts!
* How To Choose the Best Tablet for The Holidays
* TrackID gets the Material Design treatment
* Samsung uploads first video advertisement for its super large Galaxy View tablet
* LG V10 not going to Canada

* Scouting profile: Adam Engel
* Alex Avila will try to shed limitations with White Sox
* White Sox program provides kids real chance
* Johnson solid candidate for White Sox rotation
* White Sox sign catcher Avila to one-year deal
* White Sox sign catcher Avila to one-year deal
* White Sox sign catcher Avila to one-year deal


Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0


* Rauner Faces Challenges in Move to - West Kentu.....
* Rauner faces challenges in move to block Syrian.....
* Rauner faces challenges in move to block Syrian.....
* Rauner faces challenges in move to block refuge.....

* Hunters find body of missing southern Illinois woman
* EXCHANGE: Augustana digitizing Hauberg glass plate images
* Rauner faces challenges in move to block Syrian refugees
* Illinois high court takes Moline company's tax break appeal
* Boone County jail inmate charged with attacking guard
* Chicago schools prepare lesson plan on teen's shooting
* Chicago Public Schools reverses special education cuts
* Former Chicago Transit workers sentenced in fraud scheme
* Rauner pardons man found innocent of 1999 attack
* Springfield police chief bemoans body-cam 'burden'

* Rauner faces challenges in move to block refugees
* Vendor Payment Program suspended due to budget impasse
* Rauner pardons man found innocent of 1999 attack
* Springfield jobless rate falls again, to 5.1 percent
* Springfield police chief sees problems with body cam law
* Lawsuit challenges Illinois ban on marijuana campaign money
* Number of Illinois inmates released on parole climbing
* Bryce Benton circulating petitions to challenge Sen. Sam McCann in GOP primary
* Executive Mansion roof repairs nearing completion
* Candidates begin filing petitions for March primary election

* Review: Sociale in the South Loop
* Her Barbie was a lawyer. Now she defends victims' rights
* Meet the guy making money off your food scraps
* Anger, pain and calls for change in response to police video
* United, Delta bet on long oil slump

* In wake of dashcam video, Emanuel must navigate political minefield
* White House under holiday lockdown after man jumps fence
* Trevor Daley turning the corner at both ends of the ice
* Rauner faces challenges in move to block Syrian refugees
* Brown: Simeon basketball players bring their A-game to court
* 16 reasons every Blackhawks fan should be thankful on Thanksgiving
* Blackhawks cool off Sharks; Kane extends point streak to 17
* Four more Laquan McDonald police dashcam videos released
* President Obama: ‘Disturbed’ by Laquan video, grateful for ‘peaceful’ protests
* Black leaders call for Supt. McCarthy to resign

* Person shot in Elgin
* 1 dead, 2 wounded in North, South Side shootings
* 4 arrested in 2nd night of Laquan McDonald shooting protests
* University of Illinois marching band performs in Macy's parade
* Laquan McDonald shooting protest groups plan Friday march
* Cops: Man tried to lure, kidnap 9-year-old girl in South Chicago
* Teen dead, 4 others wounded in city shootings
* Woman dies in Chesterton fire
* Naval recruits get taste of home at Chicago Ridge Thanksgiving dinner
* Cops: Will County explosions just legal shooting practice

* Rauner faces challenges in move to block refugees
* Vendor Payment Program suspended due to budget impasse
* Eugene Robinson: The GOP's political correctness dodge
* Douglas Holt: Woman's protest of Trump was misguided, inappropriate
* George Will: Muzzling pet advice another case of free speech erosion
* Bernard Schoenburg: Josh Langfelder took father's advice on election petition signatures
* Rauner pardons man found innocent of 1999 attack
* Springfield jobless rate falls again, to 5.1 percent
* Michael Gerson: The Trump effect, still 'understated'
* Catherine Rampell: For millennials, first comes love — then what?

* Game Day Q&A: Arcola coach Zach Zehr
* Migut's sophomore success aided by veterans
* Big Ten football update: Big implications in final week
* MBB Sneak Peek: UAB opens Florida tournament
* Illini seek 'killer instinct' before tournament
* 48th Annual Turkey Trot
* Podcast: Champaign County States Attorney Julia Rietz 11-26-15
* Wednesday's highlights: Nottingham, Chargers get first win
* Clubs listings, Nov. 26-Dec. 3, 2015
* Area update: Soup kitchen needs help with backpack giveaway

* Packers don't get in Bears' way
* One hurt in Elgin shooting
* Informal hat and scarf giveaway makes Batavia warmer
* Arlington Heights hosts homestyle Thanksgiving for Navy recruits
* Lake Zurich Culver's feeds hundreds for Thanksgiving

* House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
* Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
* The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
* Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
* Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
* CBD Oil, and politics
* Simon considering state Senate bid
* Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
* Shutdown? State may not notice
* Rep. Bob Dold

* Letter: Sen. Durbin is right on refugee is......
* Nebraska ethanol producers name former Dur......

* Opinion: Sen. Kirk must stand with crimina......

* Snow Money
* Chicago Teachers Union. “If we strike, we do so to protect our children,” says Karen Jennings Lewis.
* Resign.
* Don't Let The Turkeys Get You Down
* “The Driver’s Side” – News From The Motorist’s Perspective
* IDOT Debuts Winter Weather Driving Tips Video
* Pot Dangerous? Mother's Testimony Says Yes [video]
* Happy Thanksgiving
* It seems like it’s everywhere, that video of the final moments of Laquan’s life
* Laquan McDonald.

* Emergency Management Officials, National Weather Service Encourage Winter Preparedness - November is Winter Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois
* Keep Your Family Safe This Winter - November through February are leading months for carbon monoxide related incidents
* Governor Takes Bill Action
* Illinois Department of Labor Director Hugo Chaviano Awards Governor’s Award for Contributions in Health and Safety to the Illinois Refining Division of Marathon Petroleum Company LP
* State Regulator Elected Treasurer of Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

    Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller