* Actions have consequences, and the governor’s plan to close prisons has resulted in some negative consequences…
Inmates at six Illinois prisons will be bunking in gyms in the coming weeks as part of the state’s ongoing struggle with overcrowding.
With more than 49,000 inmates packed into space built for 33,000 prisoners, Illinois Department of Corrections Director S.A. Godinez notified the union representing prison employees on Wednesday of the pending changes.
Prisons in Vandalia, Danville, Centralia, Canton, Vienna and Hillsboro are affected.
“The gymnasiums in those facilities will be temporarily set up as dormitory units for minimum-security inmates,” Corrections spokeswoman Stacey Solano said in an email Thursday. […]
The state has shuttered the Tamms Correctional Center in southern Illinois and is moving to close the all-female Dwight Correctional Center. The loss of more than 1,000 beds at a time when the prison population continues to grow has raised concerns about a rise in violence.
The union representing Illinois prison workers is denouncing what it says is a return of “circuit riders” — hardcore, sometimes brutal inmates shipped from prison to prison to keep them out of trouble — after prisoners suspected in an attack last week were transferred to less-secure lockups, The Associated Press has learned.
In a letter Wednesday to Department of Corrections Director S.A. “Tony” Godinez, a regional director for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees demanded an end to transfers until Godinez negotiates safety concerns with the union. […]
Caumiant’s letter said it’s a violation of Corrections’ administrative guidelines to move maximum-security inmates to facilities with lower levels of security.
“What’s more,” Caumiant said, “it is the height of irresponsibility to put employees of the receiving facilities in the position of taking inmates with no immediate knowledge of the violent crimes they have committed against employees and other inmates.”
* AFSCME is using guard attacks as physical proof that Quinn’s contract negotiations are causing real harm…
The decision to close facilities for budgetary reasons is certainly looking stupider with every passing day. This latest action has the potential to shed an even harsher light on the Governor’s ability to have a coherent approach to the issues involved.
1. We need laws that address our prison over-crowding. We should begin looking at the prospect of fines instead of prison for non-violent drug crimes. After that we should address other initiatives that avoid prison time for non-violent crimes. While we’re at it we should treat drug addiction as a mental health issue instead of a criminal issue.
2. What specifically is AFSME trying to do to enhance safer working conditions through the bargaining process? I thought it the contract termination was regarding pay. If someone from the union could shed some light on this that would be appreciative. I know about the lawsuits trying to prevent prison closures, just was unaware something was being discussed in contract negotiations.
There has always been a problem with overcrowding. Illinois’ laws and policies for locking people up do not match the capacity of our prisons. If there truly are that many people that need to remain in prison then they need to have a sufficient number of prisons to house them securely and safely. If they don’t need to be there then they need to let them out and look for alternative methods of punishment.
Small Town - What?? Yes, the governor and his
entourage continue to demonize the evil state employees to the extent that their contract was terminated!! Take a look at that picture and tell me what’s wrong with letting the public know who’s responsible?
47th Ward - I think you’re missing 49,000 inmates in prisons built for 33,000. You’re missing Quinn still closing more prisons so they will have to house inmates in gyms. How can you argue he doesn’t have to shoulder responsibility for the resulting violence between inmates and against staff?
===How can you argue he doesn’t have to shoulder responsibility for the resulting violence between inmates and against staff?===
Look, ever since there have been prisons, there have been prisoners assaulting guards. If you or AFSCME can show credible data that assaults are on the rise in the past year out of step with the past decade, then your argument will carry more weight.
I feel horrible for this guard. No one should be beaten like that. I don’t know the facts of this case, but putting this on Quinn is a political stunt by AFSCME and it makes me sick. They are exploiting this man’s injuries and I don’t care for that.
incredulous - The article above quotes DOC as saying they are going to house inmates in gyms in 6 prisons. This is happening because Quinn is closing ANOTHER prison. Closing prisons does increase overcrowding. And good for the media for holding Quinn responsible for the results.
Today, the DEA and the Chicago Crime Commission named Joaquin Guzman as Chicago’s Public Enemy No. 1.
He’s head of the Sinaolan Cartel and is holed up in Northern Mexico.
Chicago’s drug crime and gang murders are part of an international, billion-dollar ongoing criminal enterprise.
DEA and the Chicago Crime Commission said the cartel has made Chicago a hub for drug distribution across the United States. That’s a national problem.
I don’t know that the locals and state have the resources or will to deal with it.
Given the outrageous number of murders in Chicago tied to this international criminal enterprise — especially when compared to New York and Los Angeles — a massive federal response, just as was done in South Florida in the 80s, would seem to be in order.
I’m not for the death penalty and I am for a long term strategy to reduce incarceration. But these actions by Governor Quinn are putting guards and inmates at risk. It’s simply wrong, irresponsible and reprehensible.
- Just Observing - Thursday, Feb 14, 13 @ 3:52 pm:
This reminds me of when the nerds were housed in the gym in Revenge of the Nerds.
- Just Observing - Thursday, Feb 14, 13 @ 3:54 pm:
=== Maybe we should have kept the death penalty for prisoners who beat up guards. Nice going George Ryan. ===
Um… I don’t think the death penalty was ever a legal punishment for an inmate beating up a guard.
=== I don’t know the facts of this case, but putting this on Quinn is a political stunt by AFSCME and it makes me sick. They are exploiting this man’s injuries and I don’t care for that.===
My thoughts exactly. AFSCME is way out of bounds here. Yes, Quinn has advocated for the closure of prisons, and yes, the closure of prisons has led to overcrowding of certain prisons… but let’s be real here - this isn’t about prison guard safety. This is about money. If it was solely about worker safety, AFSCME could have had their employees take a paycut to keep the other facilities open and have a safer prison environment. Instead they wanted all of the prisons open. And raises for its members. And a tax hike to make up the difference for the pension shortfall.
I am all for collective bargaining. But I think its complete stupidity for unions not to see the writing on the wall and understand that they should be negotiating with our state’s fiscal situation in mind. Yes, the unions can rightfully put some blame on others for the mess… but that doesn’t solve anything.
PQ declares a emergency procurement for $13 million for rush vile? No bid contracts to hand picked contractor. IYC St. Charles $7 million emergency procurement. PQ doesn’t have a clue what’s he is doing. Just spend the money and make the system more unsafe.
The gangs will soon be running the prison’s like in the 80’s, if not already. Did we forget about the Richard Speck tape? There is not any penalty’s for committing crimes in prison. The thirteen Latin King’s that attacked guards and the Chaplin at Menard? Some of those are being transferred to Medium security prisons? If they commit a murder? There is no death penalty and No Tamms!! As the DOC ship sinks, who is at the wheel? There is no room for parole violators. No room for the criminals in Chicago. Chicago CBS news reported only 33% of criminals with guns go to jail. So if there is no room in the Inn for criminals, watch out! You may think, hey who cares about the poor convicts or the guards. But when the criminals figure out they aren’t going to jail! You may be seeing crime first hand on your street.
- Old and in the Way - Thursday, Feb 14, 13 @ 4:22 pm:
It’s pretty hard to defend PQ on this when he pulls stunts like denying the press access to the prisons and then pretends that all is well. He inherited a mess true enough but has done nothing to fix it. The same could be said for what I believe is the real scandal in Illinois and that is mental health. Instead of wasting time with Squeezy the Python and lame PR he should have been out in front on all of this. At least admit that there is a serious problem! You can be part of the problem, part of the solution or part of the landscape……..PQ is sadly part of the landscape.
I am no defender of Gov Quinn. However, he is not running the IDOC, Director Godinez is the one who makes these decisions and assures Gov Quinn that he can run the agency just fine with these changes. Gov Quinn didn’t transfer these
Inmates to less security prisons… Director godinez did. Gov Quinn was assured by Director Godinez that he can run the system without Tamms. He came up with the gym plan and assured the governor that this is safe. I am sure godinez is assuring Henry Bayer that he is just following orders from the Governor. Governor Edgar didn’t allow Richard speck to do his things in prison… Guess who did????? WAKE UP!!!
First you have to remember that this was not about the budget as Quinn claimed. It began in 2010 as the Segregation Reduction Program. Look it up. Quinn and other Progresives knew if they tried to sell their plan to the voters it would go nowhere, so instead they hid it behind the “Budget”. But if that were true, why did they start on this project two years earlier? The only hope for DOC Employees to correct what Quinn and Godinez have done is that Sen. John Jones goes thru with his plan to investigate DOC. But AFSCME isnt completely blameless either. They knew in 2010 what Quinns plans were, and backed him anyway. AFSCME was warned what would go on, and still threw all in on Quinns Progresive ideas. AFSCME also was given the information last spring that Quinn and Godinez went to such great lengths to keep from getting in the press. Has anyone in the Press attempted to find out why they went to such great lengths to silence staff, and what they were hiding? No they havent. As long as the policies of this Administration continue, things will only get worse. Until light shines on DOC from the outside, nothing will change for the better. Hopefully Sen Jones will begin to shine that light.
- Leave a Light on George - Thursday, Feb 14, 13 @ 5:00 pm:
Guess the prison tours will go back to being cancelled.