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“Blood money”

Wednesday, Feb 6, 2013

* Voting against a supplemental appropriations bill because it uses money saved from closing a state facility in your region in order to fund DCFS operations is understandable. But, what’s done is done

The Democratic-sponsored measure, endorsed on a mostly party line 63-52 vote, would allow the state to hire workers to check on abused children, boost spending on road and bridge construction projects and finance employee health insurance programs for the remainder of the current fiscal year. […]

State Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, said Quinn’s money-saving move to close the Tamms Correctional Center, for example, has triggered violence elsewhere in the state’s overcrowded prison system.

“I’m telling you, what we’re using is blood money,” Bost said.

* That’s not to say there are no problems in the prisons right now. There most certainly are

We have confirmed that earlier today multiple inmates with possible gang connections assaulted two staff members and the chaplain at Menard Correctional Center in Chester. One of the guards has been taken to the hospital, where he was treated and released.

According to Illinois Department of Corrections Spokeswoman Stacey Solano, the assault took place in the chapel of the facility, with one guard the target of the assault while the chaplain and the other guard injured while coming to his aid.

Early reports indicate 13 members of the Latin Disciples attacked the guards while in the chapel. The facility is reportedly now on a level one lockdown, which is the highest level of security. […]

The 13 inmates allegedly involved in the assaults of the guards have reportedly been transferred to the facility’s segregation unit, the location of an inmate death last week that union officials are calling murder.

This is the second staff assault at Menard in less than a month, and the fourth reported staff assault in that same time period for the entire system.

I hope this doesn’t mean that IDOC is losing control of the prisons. It’s tough to gauge from media coverage, because the Tamms closure has resulted in a whole lot more stories and media interest. I’d like to see some overall numbers here. But that Latino gang attack is mighty worrisome on its own.

* Meanwhile, back to the supplemental approp bill

On Tuesday, Illinois House members approved spending over $2 billion on road building and transferred money from the department of corrections to child welfare and mental health services.

The “supplemental appropriation” was pushed through by majority Democrats and Republicans said the bill was included “millions in unnecessary and irresponsible spending”.

GOP leader Tom Cross argued against the bill.

“When you come before this chamber and say ‘We want to appropriate all this money’, and not focus on a single reform, yes, it’s cause for pause. Yes, we have concerns, and yes, we are not going to support it,” said Cross.

As I explained to subscribers, it’s not really $2 billion. And it’s not new money. From the bill’s Balanced Budget Impact Note

HB 190 (H-AM 4) provides supplemental appropriations for a net increase of approximately $603,266,600 in general revenue fund appropriations, approximately $1,516,909,900 in other State fund appropriations, and approximately $48,757,100 in federal fund appropriations. The bill provides for no new revenue sources, nor does the bill requires any additional State spending. This Bill does not directly have any significant fiscal impact. The supplemental appropriation to the Department of Central Management Services for group insurance was expected to be included in the fiscal year 2013. Therefore the fiscal impact to the General Revenue Fund is negligible. Supplemental appropriations provided from other State and federal funds are provided on the basis of the availability of moneys in those funds.

* There are projects in the bill, but it’s mostly this stuff

The legislation would put $675 million to work on road construction this spring after an unanticipated infusion of federal money and freed-up state funds. It moves $25 million saved from closing prisons to child-welfare services and authorizes a half-year’s payment for state employee health insurance.

The measure includes more than $600 million that will cover the health insurance costs of state workers during the second half of this fiscal year. The General Assembly approved that money last spring but only appropriated enough money for pay the costs for the first six months of the year.
Lawmakers hoped by now there would be new state-employee contracts that would incorporate provisions such as higher health-insurance premiums they agreed to last year, but contract talks still haven’t yielded a new pact.

Facing resistance from Republicans, House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie urged legislators to “do the right thing” and approve the bill that could save as many as 1,900 jobs at the Department of Children and Family Services. The agency has shuffled staff and eliminated middle-management positions; officials will use the $25 million to put 138 more child-abuse investigators on the street.
But GOP legislators cried foul, saying Democrats invariably “demonize” them for opposing such measures.

“I’m tired of the other side telling me I don’t care about anything,” said Rep. Dennis Reboletti, a Republican from Elmhurst. “Don’t tell me I don’t care about people with mental health issues.”
Reboletti challenged Currie to present a “clean bill” without what he said are new expenditures, and he would cooperate.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 10:14 am:

    Does Bost do community theater? Because he loves the drama.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 10:21 am:

    ===Does Bost do community theater? Because he loves the drama.===

    8 shows a week, with 2 on Sunday …

  3. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 10:32 am:

    It would never occur to anybody in Springfield to use the extra money to pay off our existing bills.

    Which is why we have the worst credit rating in the country.

  4. - reformer - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 10:35 am:

    Was Reboletti for the bill yesterday when Cross was still for it?

  5. - the Patriot - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 10:39 am:

    What’s done is done? Really, so our analysis is left with it is ok to lie to justify closing a facility that puts people in harms way, lie about the alleged savings, then use it as a justification for more pork.

    1. We are bleeding right now. Any cuts should be used to pay debt not new projects.

    2. There is very little if any savings from closing tamms. Most of the cost of running the facility is salary and inmate related. Both the employees and the inmates went to other facilities. The ligts and water are still on at Tamms. You saved verry little. This is an increase in spending for a state underwater.

    This is why Madigan will go down as the worst politician in IL history. He lacks the simple charcteristic of self restraint. It is not disputable. You cannot spend more than you bring in forever.

  6. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 10:50 am:

    Patriot - A couple points. First, if you want analysis, look at actual analysis rather than rhetoric from angry lawmakers. It’s far too early to tell if closing Tamms increases violence elsewhere, as Rich noted right now there’s just a lot more coverage. That doesn’t mean there’s an actual uptick in violence.

    Paying debt is indeed a priority, but to me, and a lot of others, creating jobs is a bigger priority. I’m all in favor of refinancing the debt so the vendors get paid and we inject $8 billion into the economy, but just tossing small amounts at the backlog is like, um, peeing on a forrest fire.

  7. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 10:54 am:

    === It would never occur to anybody in Springfield to use the extra money to pay off our existing bills ===

    Which is why many folks don’t trust the state to reduce costs/programs before agreeing to higher taxes to deal with the debt. Every program is vital, every program saves innocent lives, every program impacts the children. Reducing spending is being cast as the act of people without conscience. Amoral.

  8. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 10:59 am:

    I would agree that refinancing the debt to pay off vendors already owed would be a good thing. We are paying very high interest rates on the money owed and refinancing could lower the borrowing costs. However, many people have little confidence that the state would follow thru. The perception by many is that the breathing space created would just trigger more spending. How do you get past that?

  9. - rusty618 - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 11:07 am:

    I read elsewhere that this bill also included a provision to fund a small college in Chicago. Any truth to that?

  10. - According to a Menard sgt - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 11:10 am:

    It’s back to the 80’s…. Some of the inmates involved in the Menard assault are being sent to medium security prisons. This is because they are losing control of Pontiac and Stateville and they would be more disruptive there….. And because there is no Tamms.

  11. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 11:35 am:

    –Which is why many folks don’t trust the state to reduce costs/programs before agreeing to higher taxes to deal with the debt.–

    There have been real cuts in recent years, even with the tax increases.

  12. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 11:49 am:

    There have been cuts - not enough, it seems. Taxes aren’t likely to be raised any time soon. Still in trouble. What next?

  13. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 11:56 am:

    I’m genrally a fan of DCFS, but I’m missing something. Don’t fund the $25M and they lay off 1900 people. Fund it and they hire 138 more. Someone help me get my hands around the math here.

  14. - Dave Clarkin - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 12:33 pm:

    from the Southern Illinoisan, December 2nd:

    Remember the children, they need our protection

    “Our view: We can’t solve the world’s problems, but we must do a better job of protecting children

    …There are many troubles beyond our control — the slaughter of civilians in Syria, bloody attacks between Palestinians and Israelis and joblessness linked to the sluggish world economy. But it is especially sad to learn of the horrors facing some of our children, who need and deserve protection.

    Abuse and neglect rates in the southern half of the state are higher than the statewide average, which also has grown over the last decade.

    Ten counties in Southern Illinois are among 35 downstate counties with abuse and neglect rates that are more than double the statewide average of 91 abuse or neglect cases for every 10,000 children. The counties are Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Jackson, Jefferson, Pulaski, Saline, Union, Wayne and White.”

  15. - Rod - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 12:44 pm:

    HB 190 as amended provided needed funding for many things that were under funded by the last appropriated budget. But none the less its a sick bill.

    In the 90 pages that I read and assume others also read the IL Gen Assembly provides money to churches and VFW halls all out of the Build Illinois Bond Fund. The bill hands over $1 million to Chicago’s Children’s Museum and $115,00 for the Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame, and on and on.

    The earmarks in HB 190 are significant examples of a sickness in our state. What is even more of a problem are how the Republicans dealt with HB 190 in the House debate. They talked in broad terms, they refused to dig in and expose some of the vast hand outs in this bill. They spoke in this vague way because some of their own earmarks were in this bill too and it would not sit too well back home to expose some things that benefit their own constituents and campaign contributors.

  16. - Dave Clarkin - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 12:48 pm:


    Great question.

    Without the restoration of the budget cuts, DCFS would have to lay off 1900 people to achieve $25 million in savings across three-and-a-half months.

    By avoiding the layoffs, DCFS can move forward with a reorganization plan that includes the elimination of 419 current positions, including 95 middle management positions, and then shifting that staff to the frontlines.

    326 new frontline positions will be created, and 23 current vacancies filled, for a net decrease of 70 staff.

    In fact, if the Senate concurs on the reorganization plan and restores a portion of our funding, we’ll still be 5 percent below the FY 2012 budget.

  17. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 1:17 pm:

    Fine, Clarkin. You need the money.

    There is no place in the budget that can be cut to fund it?

    We are now down to complete minimum in all other departments?

  18. - StayFree75 - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 1:31 pm:

    The 75% figure of unfounded allegations is from DCFS’ own historical statistics.

    The 75% of the remaining 25% “indicated” findings being turned over on appeal is also from DCFS’ own statistics the last time DCFS would provide the information several years ago. By some measures, such as the Family Defense Center’s statistics on administrative appeals they’ve handled in recent years, DCFS is now losing more than 75% of administrative appeals.

    There are over 80,000 false allegations made to DCFS a year. The burden of proof to indicate is credible evidence, which by DCFS standards is the mere allegation itself. Its as easy as picking up a phone and calling the hotline. That truly is enough for DCFS to “indicate” anyone, particularly for the more serious allegations. This is why DCFS loses over 75% of the indicated cases which are appealed through the administrative hearing process.

  19. - Ahoy! - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 1:31 pm:

    “do the right thing”

    Can’t people disagree with what the “right thing” is?

  20. - Dan Bureaucrat - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 1:51 pm:

    Rough stuff in all Illinois agencies. Here’s what I’d like to know:

    Didn’t the Tamms closure send some 50 guards to Menard? Did that help the staff to prisoner ratio?

    And like Rich said, how does overall violence compare this year to last year and the year before? And is that difference statistically significant?

  21. - StayFree75 - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 2:22 pm:

    16 Child Abuse Misreporting Cases in the Docket of the Family Defense Center:

  22. - Dave Clarkin - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 3:10 pm:

    @StayFree75 -

    With all due respect, you contradict yourself.

    In FY 2012, DCFS indicated abuse in 27 percent of investigations. That’s not only proof that we don’t indicate folks based simply on an allegation being made, but exemplifies the high standards, burden of proof, and simple difficulty of child abuse investigations that lead to an indication of abuse and neglect cases.

    My understanding is that very few of the perpetrators in the nearly 30,000 child abuse investigations last fiscal year had successful appeals. Perhaps as few as two percent.

    That said, I appreciate Diane Redleaf’s advocacy for restoring DCFS funding. While many advocates might disagree on some of the finer points, we all agree that protecting children and stopping child abuse and neglect is a responsibility we all share.

  23. - StayFree75 - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 3:21 pm:

    Mr. Clarkin, yes, that does appear contradictory, I agree.

    My understanding is that 75% or more of current DCFS administrative appeals are successful. If the number is truly as low as you suggest, why hasn’t DCFS released appeal statistics for several years now?

    My job is to support programs which provide services to victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse, as well as support to child advocacy centers and State’s attorneys. It has been my experience that DCFS does far more harm than good. That may be just my personal experience from what I know of firsthand, however.

    Also, as an aside, I had the pleasure of watching a DCFS attorney last year (earning over $100K/year) who was unable to log in to a computer because the letters were worn off the keys. They admitted, “I don’t know what I’m typing, I can’t read the letters.” This is what taxpayers are getting from DCFS, a model of inefficiency.

  24. - the Patriot - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 3:29 pm:

    Analysis vs. Rhetoric. Call Jason Halls Mother and ask her about the rhetoric. He was murdered at Menard last week by his cell mate because his cell mate knows there is no death penalty and no Tamms. I hope his family gets a good lawyer. It took 30 days.

    Please provide me with an analysis of how many peoples lives are worth $25 million. I hope Madigan and Quinn sleep well with their Pork projects and someone sends them a nice picture of Mr. Hall.

  25. - Mark - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 3:33 pm:

    If they could solve all the murders in Chicago they would have enough prisoners to be forced to open Tamms back up again.

  26. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 3:51 pm:

    - because his cell mate knows there is no death penalty and no Tamms. -

    You know that, for certain? From what I read the suspect was serving a life sentence for murder, did he commit that one because he knew there wouldn’t be a death penalty or Tamms?

    Were there no inmate murders while we had a death penalty and Tamms?

    Your analysis seems to have a few holes, let me know when you’ve patched them up.

  27. - Dave Clarkin - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 3:56 pm:

    @StayFree75 -

    I just got here in October, so I can’t answer that question. But rather than continue to stray of the thread’s topic, why don’t you just e-mail or call me?

    Dave.Clarkin at

    P.S. I can’t type either without hunting and pecking, so let’s give the lawyer a break.

  28. - dc - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 4:01 pm:

    What percent of DCFS’ total workforce would the 1900 have been?

  29. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 4:02 pm:

    Speaking of can’t type. The above is me to Dave Clarkin

  30. - Dave Clarkin - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 4:02 pm:

    Roughly two-thirds. I think our current headcount is 2722, but don’t quote me on that.

  31. - Dave Clarkin - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 4:08 pm:


    You of all people should feel free to e-mail me directly at the address above. Or just call, I’m in the book.

    Hope you are well.

  32. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 4:22 pm:

    Dave, what is DCFS’ total personal services budget this year before the supplemental?

  33. - Generation X - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 5:15 pm:

    The real question isn’t whether Tamms would have prevented the inmate’s death or prevents the attacks on CO’s due to its deterrent effect. Rather the important question should be where are we going to place these violent murderous individuals so that they don’t harm anyone else. There are no good options without Tamms. The increased violence is likely to continue

  34. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 5:20 pm:

    –The real question isn’t whether Tamms would have prevented the inmate’s death or prevents the attacks on CO’s due to its deterrent effect.–

    No, that is the question. That’s the only question.

    Prisons are not economic development.

  35. - Generation X - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 5:29 pm:

    Who said anything about economic development? If prisons are only open for their deterrent effect then we better close them all down, because it isn’t working.

    No, prisons exists to keep the public safe while also safely housing individuals who cannot obey criminal laws. This State will do neither as well as it did with Tamms open

  36. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 5:35 pm:

    –No, prisons exists to keep the public safe while also safely housing individuals who cannot obey criminal laws. This State will do neither as well as it did with Tamms open–

    I might almost believe that, if, for the last 30 years, I haven’t seen Southern Illinois communities, through their “economic development departments,” pump for prisons.

    Remember the video from Flora, circa 1985?

    “Is we is, or is we isn’t, going to be the town that gets the prison?”

  37. - Generation X - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 5:44 pm:

    Sure Southern Illinois communities have lobbied hard for prisons due to the economic impact, but that isn’t the point. I would be making the same argument if the supermax were in Chicago, Rockford or Thomson Illinois. Inmates who cause violence to other inmates or staff or attempt escapes at regular facilities, will continue to do so until placed in a facility that won’t allow it. Tamms had zero incidents like the one we have seen the last couple of weeks and nobody escaped from there.

    Besides if it saves just one life isn’t it worth it?

  38. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 6:28 pm:

    - The increased violence is likely to continue -

    I’ve yet to see proof that violence has increased. All I’ve seen proof of is that media coverage has increased.

    Big difference.

  39. - Bob - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 6:50 pm:

    Rep. Bost Statement on $2.1 Billion Supplemental Budget

    “Today the Illinois House of Representatives rammed through a $2.1 billion supplemental budget to bailout a Chicago University, including $1 million for new management hires. The supplemental budget approved today is nothing more than a money grab from Southern Illinois to pay Chicago.
    My question is why are we doing a Bailout of a Chicago University???? I thought the state was broke!

  40. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 7:26 pm:

    – The supplemental budget approved today is nothing more than a money grab from Southern Illinois to pay Chicago.–

    Yeah, that’s how it works. The folks in one of the greatest economic engines on the planet steal from Southern Illinois, which is, maybe not.

    To quote Rep. Bost: “I feel like I’m trying to be released from Egypt.”

    You want to make some money, Rep. Bost? Get your tourism in line. It’s a disgrace that no one, and I mean no one, makes Southern Illinois a destination. It’s a beautiful and pleasant part of the country.

    Another way? Get your weed legalized. You grow a lot down there. Get the sheriffs and gangsters out of the business and spread the wealth.

    Problem with that?

  41. - Dave Clarkin - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 10:47 pm:

    Arthur Andersen -


    For further numbers, see HB 190, HA 4, pg 81-82. The supplemental shows the original appropriation and the amended total.

  42. - Alan Mills - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 10:48 pm:

    Thanks, Rich. Hard numbers comparing assaults over last ten years would be really useful, instead of relying on the number of stories printed, or the number of press conferences AFSCME holds. It seems Tamms was always just a cats paw for larger contract and pension fight.

  43. - the Patriot - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 9:12 am:

    If Tamms was open, this guy would know he is going to spend the rest of his life in a super seg unit where no one wants to go. Now he just gets his own room for life. Think about it.

    Unfortunately there are no real reporters in this state who will get to the bottom of it. The Trib will file lawsuits to find out Jack Ryan has sex with his wife, but won’t touch the death of an inmate.

    The Statistics are useless because the Governor can alter them to show whatever he wanted. IF he wanted Tamms open he could have spent 2 years raising the population which would have decreased the per inmate cost. Instead he spent 2 years dropping the population to justify its closure.

    Rich can probably find my posts from the fall saying this would happen. I am not a fan of babying inmates, but people need to wake up and see that dolling out the pork without solving budget problems has real world consequences.

    We will blog about how we need to do a better job controlling mental heath data and tracking patients and the democrats will cut funding for the mentally ill and blame conservatives when someone gets shot. This is socialism. You have to be willing to accept a certain level of death for your pork projects. You can argue I am wrong, what you can’t argue is this will happen again, and again, and again, until Mike Madigan is gone and someone with the courage correct our finacial problems is in place.

  44. - Dave Clarkin - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 12:26 pm:

    @StayFree75 -

    Haven’t heard from you, but I’ve got an answer.

    Roughly four percent of indicated cases were overturned on appeal in 2011-2012.

  45. - Dan Bureaucrat - Thursday, Feb 7, 13 @ 3:10 pm:

    ==IF he wanted Tamms open he could have spent 2 years raising the population which would have decreased the per inmate cost. Instead he spent 2 years dropping the population to justify its closure.==

    The Tamms population (including the 200 men in the min security camp) was ~450 for most of the 14 years it was open. When closure was announced, it was about 390.

    Obviously 60 less people would not make any difference in deciding to close a prison.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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* U.S., Illinois and Champaign County candidates for 2016 primary
* Davis, Righter will have primary opponents
* Spotlight on Service, Dec. 1, 2015

* McHenry sheriff's police searching for missing elderly man
* House considers requiring search warrant to get old emails
* Oregon offensive coordinator Frost is new UCF coach
* Int'l NY Times' Thai printer refuses to run front-page story
* Obama says Russia may finally come around on Assad's future

* 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

* Tightening L-1 Rules in Grassley/Durbin Bi......

* Syrian refugees become campaign issue in I......
* Mark Kirk uses Syrian refugee issue in new......
* Syrian refugees become campaign issue in I......
* Syrian refugees become issue in Illinois S......
* Syrian refugees become issue in Illinois S......

* Richard C. Cooke, Judges Marianne Jackson, William B. Sullivan, Carrie Hamilton, and Ketki "Kay" Steffen unopposed in their respective subcircuit primary races; contests abound elsewhere
* It brings out the rats.
* Rahm’s political crisis. He’s in free fall.
* Di Leo: Black Friday on Chicago's Magnificent Mile
* Black Friday on North Michigan Avenue.
* Sixty years ago today.
* REEDER: Thanks to young freelance reporter, Chicagoans now know about Laquan McDonald
* Burke, Lampkin unopposed for Appellate Court; three unopposed for countywide Circuit Court vacancies
* Random thoughts.
* Education of the Handicapped Act is threatened by ESEA’s inclusion of Pay for Success.

* 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

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