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Rutherford blasts prison closures, but Quinn’s budget office points to the hard numbers

Wednesday, Jun 20, 2012

* After word got out that Gov. Pat Quinn was going ahead with his planned prison closures, Treasurer Dan Rutherford sent out a press release…

“I do not agree with Governor Quinn’s apparent final decision to close seven state correctional facilities and youth centers in the near future. Closing prisons will only exacerbate the overcrowding we face in Illinois with our prison population. Overcrowded prisons pose a real danger to employees and local communities. I took a similar stand back in 2008 when the previous governor abruptly suggested closing multiple state facilities without a comprehensive plan. As a state senator, I proposed legislation that would have put into place long-range strategic planning on certain facility closures. I am again calling on the state to implement business principles by having strategic long-range plans for its major state facility assets.”

* But the governor’s budget office pointed out all the spending pressures caused by pensions and Medicaid and claimed it had a good rationale for closing the facilities…

The Department of Juvenile Justice has a declining population of youth which means the state no longer needs eight state detention facilities. We have chosen which facilities to close based on the needs of our youth. In the case of Murphysboro, there is another IYC facility nearby in Harrisburg. Also, the facility has the capacity for 256 youth and currently houses less than 20.

In the case of Joliet, the physical plant does not provide the rehabilitative environment that our youth need. A more rehabilitative model of juvenile justice where youth are served and supported in the community instead of being incarcerated has been shown to result both in safer communities and better outcomes for our youth.

Tamms is only half full and very costly to operate with an average inmate cost of more than three times any other prison in the state. Approximately $64,800 compared to $21,405. The security level at Tamms for high level offenders can be safely replicated at other existing facilities. Closed Maximum security inmates will be transferred to Pontiac Correctional Center and Menard Correctional Center. These facilities will be able to supply the level of security needed for these inmates without compromising safety for staff or inmates. Tamms minimum security inmates will be relocated appropriately throughout other facilities around the state.

Dwight is located within 22 miles of Pontiac Correctional Center, 45 miles from Stateville Correctional Center, and 45 miles from Sheridan Correctional Center. Dwight houses women, and the female prison population is trending down. Between 2005 and 2011 IDOC female prison admissions decreased 41%.

Overall, these closures will allow the state to better live within our means and address the state’s most pressing needs.

Rutherford, who is widely expected to run for governor, is planning to hold two media availabilities today to criticize the closures, including an event in Chicago this afternoon.

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

41 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 9:23 am:

    Question #1 - How do you expect to pay to keep the facilities open?

    Question #2 - As Treasurer, you whould know where money can be “found” so how would you pay with your “strategic plan”?

    Make sure you can answer THOSE questions, Dan.


  2. - How Ironic - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 9:23 am:

    You have got to give props to the Gov for making these choices. The GOP has long demanded “Cuts, Cuts, Cuts”, and now that they are getting them they cry foul?


  3. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 9:28 am:

    Great explanation. Except all those prisons near Dwight are MALE inmate prisons. The FEMALE Dwight inmates are being shipped to one of the prisons in Lincoln, which, according to Google Maps, is 97.6 miles away.

    Is the gov’s budget office suggesting the SuperMax male inmates from Tamms and the female inmates from Dwights are gonna double bunk over at Pontiac?

    Genius! That’s one way to solve a problem.

    Dwight is located within 22 miles of Pontiac Correctional Center, 45 miles from Stateville Correctional Center, and 45 miles from Sheridan Correctional Center. Dwight houses women, and the female prison population is trending down. Between 2005 and 2011 IDOC female prison admissions decreased 41%.


  4. - collar observer - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 9:29 am:

    Kudos again Governor - thank you for making the tough choices.


  5. - Downstate Illinois - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 9:30 am:

    If Tamms is half full it’s probably due to the agency starting to move prisoners out of there in May.


  6. - Stooges - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 9:35 am:

    I appreciate that the Governor’s office provided a coherent rationale for the closings, let those that are opposed to the closings refute the choices in the same manner.


  7. - John Galt - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 9:36 am:

    Other than “he’s probably going to run for governor”, what exactly does the Treasurer’s opinion have anything to do with this? Why is it his business?


  8. - Robert - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 9:39 am:

    Get Oswego Willy a press pass! I do believe that a member of the media will ask Q2 at the press conference


  9. - Use Common Sense - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 9:39 am:

    If Governor Quinn was doing what was right for Illinois he would have chosen facilities that were old and in need of repairs. Take IYC St. Charles and IYC Pere Marquette as examples. They are in need of a lot of repairs. Plus, if you are doing right by the youth ask them where they would rather be housed. Most probably would say Murphysboro cause it is a newer facility and nice. He can’t say he is doing this to save money cause if that were true he would keep newer facilities open and close old ones. Plus the IYC in Chicago is not even owned by the State. They pay rent on that facility just to run it, over a million a year. Nothing gets said about that. All politics. All about where you live in the state. Has nothing to do with saving money. If you believe that, you are just as bad as Quinn.


  10. - Colossus - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 9:42 am:

    I distinctly remember a family dinner in 2006 where my mother told me she would not be supporting Judy because she was a “baby killer.” I heatedly tried to convince her that her stance would turn the Republican Party into a party that specializes in losing elections instead of a party that tries to win and influence things. Insisting on ideological purity instead of dealing with reality will only marginalize a party and decrease the potential of (subjectively) positive outcomes.

    While I have since apologized for my outburst to my mother, I take little joy in seeing my prediction come true. I have yet to hear an objection that doesn’t rest on jobs and employees, and while I’m all ears for alternative plans, I haven’t seen one.

    Rutherford: put up or shut up. Otherwise, you’re no better than the rank and file that won’t support a “baby killer” and let Rod cakewalk back to his schemes.


  11. - cassandra - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 9:50 am:

    The governor should be leading the closure of these facilities whether or not there is a financial crisis, because it’s the right thing to do. The age of large institutions for special populations is ending–thank goodness. It’s unfortunate that our political leaders had to wait for a financial “crisis” to do it, but whatever works. Unfortunately, his office’s statement makes it sound like if the state were not in financial hard times, we’d be keeping all these places open. That’s probably true, but it would be the wrong thing to do.


  12. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 9:50 am:

    === If Tamms is half full it’s probably due to the agency starting to move prisoners out of there in May. ===

    According to IDOC’s annual reports, Tamms has a capacity of 500 maximum security inmates and 200 minimum security inmates.

    Yet at least since FY 05, its never had more than about 470 inmates, and from FY 08 to FY 10, the average was closer to 410.

    I don’t know about the inner workings of IDOC, but my bet is rather than “transferring prisoners out”, the population has been further reduced through attrition to 350.

    As far back as the reports go, Tamms has been a pretty costly facility.


  13. - More Courage - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 9:53 am:

    The answer to both of Willy’s questions is that the Governor needs to sign the FY13 budget. General Assembly included funding for all these facilities.


  14. - mark walker - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 9:55 am:

    Fear is the trump card the GOP always plays in tough economic times. Here come the ads on dangerous criminals on the loose, and out of control prisons.

    Rutherford has been a disappointment, especially compared to JBT.


  15. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 9:58 am:

    - More Courage -

    ===”…I took a similar stand back in 2008 when the previous governor abruptly suggested closing multiple state facilities without a comprehensive plan. As a state senator, I proposed legislation that would have put into place long-range strategic planning on certain facility closures. I am again calling on the state to implement business principles by having strategic long-range plans for its major state facility assets.”===

    I don’t think your (- More Courage -) response is directly targeting the press release like the question(s) I have put out there.

    If Rutherford addressed the closings with your response, then I would, indeed, have my answers …

    However …

    Dan had to make it about Dan Rutherford, so I want to know, specifically for what Dan ritherford says in the press release, how Dan Rutherford is going to change what Pat Quinn is doing.

    If Dan answers the questions I posed like you did, after that self-serving press release, he will get dinged, and not only by me.


  16. - vandalia - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 9:59 am:

    Tough times mean tough cboices. Nobody wants anything closed or cut unless it is somewhere else other than in their backyard. There is going to be plenty of pain to go around. At least Quinn is being bonest about the problem and trying to do something about it rather than kicking it down the road like so many of his predecessors have done. I dont like the cuts anymore than the next guy but know if something isnt done, and done soon, more cuts and more closings will be needed.


  17. - soccermom - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 10:01 am:

    Another reason to close Tamms — http://gawker.com/5919854/solitary-confinement-is-torture


  18. - It's All Good - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 10:02 am:

    As difficult as these closings will be on the local economies of the affected communities and as unpalatable as the moves might be politically, you have to commend Quinn and his staff for making these tough decisions. From the explanations they’ve given, the moves seem to make sense. GOP criticizing the moves in a moment of hypocritical political grandstanding in 3…2…1…


  19. - Shore - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 10:02 am:

    ‘Rutherford, who is widely expected to run for governor”-there’s no appetite for this among the republican base. It will be interesting to see which if any Republicans show up at the chicago pride event this weekend.

    You find out which self proclaimed ronald reagan conservatives are really conservatives when it comes time to cut government goodies the base enjoys. Rutherford failed that test here. Also if you’re a republican why would you ever pass up a chance to name drop blago in a press release?


  20. - soccermom - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 10:09 am:

    Use Common Sense — I think if you ask most youth, they would want to be housed as close as possible to their families. And since most of the population is in northeast Illinois, that’s where the facilities should be.


  21. - MrJM - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 10:13 am:

    Cuts For Thee But Not For Me! — Danny Rutherford for Governor

    – MrJM


  22. - Chicago taxpayer - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 10:17 am:

    I’m so pleased that Gov Quinn is showing the courage that legislators lacked and standing by his plan to shut down Tamms. IL taxpayers shouldn’t pay for a prison that has been condemned by human rights groups around the world.


  23. - CircularFiringSquad - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 10:17 am:

    Rutherford’s conference call is gripping and he dropped off it twice already…true whiz…blaming the phone


  24. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 10:21 am:

    @Shore -

    Rutherford’s conundrum is that he’ll be portrayed as a social liberal in the primary for opposing discrimination against gay Americans and a social conservative in the general election for opposing birth control.

    At the same time, his presence downstate really puts the squeeze on Schock and makes it tough for Brady to justify another run.

    If I’m Brady, I’d cut a deal to support Rutherford for Governor and run for the Treasurer’s job.


  25. - Raising Kane - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 10:32 am:

    It’s hard to imagine that Rutherford runs against Schock. Schock has too much money and Dan would have to risk his seat to do it. It’s also not likely that Bill Brady will be much of a factor.


  26. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 10:52 am:

    Will we get some idea what Rutherford is saying on the Press Availability call?

    I for one would like to hear Rutherford’s responses to some of the questions posed regarding this Press Release.


  27. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 10:53 am:

    I doubt if Schock would run for governor. He’s in a safe seat, in the majority, on Ways and Means, moving up the ladder, living the Washington life and can work as little or as much as he wants.

    A governor’s job is one lousy decision after another. Very different.


  28. - Use Common Sense - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 10:53 am:

    Soccermom
    You may be correct on the fact that most of the population in the youth facilities come from the northeast part of Illinois. And it may be true that they want to be close to their family. However, don’t you think that their family and friends are some of the main reasons they are in the system in the first place. It starts with good parenting. But, like you said, lets keep these kids around the influences that got them there in the first place!


  29. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 11:27 am:

    ==The age of large institutions for special populations is ending==

    Ummm, we are talking about prisons here. I’m not sure that comment holds any water. Yes, let’s just close prisons because the “age of institutions” is over. I agree that the closures probably have to happen but prison closures have nothing to do with this comment.


  30. - Chris - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 11:51 am:

    “While I have since apologized for my outburst to my mother”

    Hope you only apologized for presentation and not content. The content was true, and I would think necessary.


  31. - Lucky Star - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 11:52 am:

    Governor Quinn is right in closing Tamms didn’t anybody watch or listen to the Durbin Hearings on isolation! The U.S. as I recall is not a country for torture! Good Luck Governor Stand your Ground against these people who care absolutely nothing about inhumane treatment!


  32. - Dana - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 12:21 pm:

    The money that was put in the budget for Tamms was to convert it to a regular facility to help with overcrowding; Not to leave it a so called “torture chamber” as people keep saying. The same could be done with IYC Murphysboro. Change it to an adult facility. The reason Governor Quinn is doing this is because he is not getting what he wants with pension reform so he takes it out on the working people. Just like a child on the school playground. “Play my way or pay”. Shame on him!


  33. - hisgirlfriday - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 12:29 pm:

    I don’t have strong feelings one way or another on any of these closures but I just have a lot of sympathy for the correctional workers in this state who have been jerked around umpteen times over the last decade with constant threats of closure and the fate of their jobs left to be decided by the political winds.

    Quinn’s logic for these closures seems to make sense as he has laid them out, but at the same time after what has happened the last decade where the governor and GA have been going back and forth in prison facility closure whack-a-mole I don’t blame the people employed at the facilities set to close now or the legislators who represent them for having some bitterness that now when the game stops, it’s their facility getting closed (rather than say 141-year-old Pontiac or Vandalia or Decatur or whatever).


  34. - Dan Bureaucrat - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 1:09 pm:

    There are a shocking number of unfilled positions in prisons throughout Southern Illinois. They are desperate for professionals and other staff alike. There will be even more with a bubble in retirements. All these workers could get jobs in corrections, many very nearby Tamms and Dwight. Others may have to relocate slightly, but the jobs are there. Most of us expect to have to move for jobs.

    Extra bonus: filling these positions will save the state millions on overtime pay. It has long been a mystery why we have to pay so much in overtime. Let’s kill two birds with one stone. Close the facilities, transfer the jobs to the prisons that need them.

    Examples: Tamms had two GED full-time staff for 170 guys, yet no classes and 20+ graduates. Lincoln has 1 GED person for 1000 people and long waiting lists of women turned away.

    Tamms had 15 nurses and 1 part time psychiatrist for 160 men. Vienna has 10 nurses and 1 part time psychiatrist for 1700.

    These prisons have open positions that need filling. Go take the jobs!


  35. - reformer - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 1:22 pm:

    Rutherford is from Pontiac, home to one of our older and more expensive prisons. Consequently, it’s no surprise that he, like many downstate Republicans, opposes tax hikes and insists on spending cuts — except when their ox gets gored.


  36. - reformer - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 1:27 pm:

    word
    The House is a safer bet for Schock, unless his goal is to be president. There’s no doubt that a governorship provides a much better launching platform than a House seat.


  37. - the Patriot - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 1:51 pm:

    For more than 15 years IDOC has recognized that certain inmates cannot safely been housed in outher prisons.

    Speak with the guards at Pontiac and menard. these facilities cannot safely house these inmates.

    If you think this is a good call, you need to ask yourself, how many inmate and guard fatalities is this worth. The fact this decision will lead to death is not a political position. It is an imminent certainty.


  38. - walk in my shoes - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 3:19 pm:

    IYC Joliet is where all youth that cannot be housed elsewhere due to behavior and the violent and aggressive crimes they have committed are housed. The decline, in so called Juvenile Crime, is not in this type of youth. If anything, due to programs like ReDeploy Illinois the minimum and medium classification juveniles are being kept in the community when possible. The youth at IYC-Joliet DO NOT QUALIFY for community placement. We house murderers (97 year sentences)attempted murderers (27 year sentences), home invasion and kidnapping (over 20 year sentences) and the youth no other facility has been able to control or help. It is not about the PHYSICAL PLANT. It SHOULD be about the support and dedication this facility’s staff shows to kids no one else wanted to help. But Governor Quinn, you hide behind your statistics, hide behind your cost saving measures and explain to the taxpayers of Illinois WHY you are closing IYC-JOLIET, with a cost per youth of 11,700.00 (see FY2013 Budget as prepared by General Assembly)and keeping another facility with a cost per youth of 41,000.00 open. And please explain why you are authorizing the state to pay 20,000,000 to 80,000,000 dollars to rebuild this other facility?


  39. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 3:26 pm:

    @Kane -

    Boyish good looks are fine for the legislative branch.

    Most folks prefer a governor who looks old enough to drive.

    Besides, as I’ve said many times, Schock is not gonna get the Kid Glove treatment from Chicago reporters that he’s enjoyed from his Hometown press.


  40. - fed up - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 5:48 pm:

    it would be great if the state would just move staff from one prison to the next except in the case at tamms where there are only 18 vacant officers position at vienna when the are mandating up to six officers per shift 24 hours a day.


  41. - Cut- but don't cut here! - Wednesday, Jun 20, 12 @ 8:52 pm:

    It’s highly amusing that the Treasurer, who could not even muster a 9% budget cut in his office that the both the governor and lieutenant governor called for & enacted, is now protesting budget cuts to facilities. These guys advocate and campaign on “cuts, cuts, cuts.. but don’t cut in my hometown and definitely don’t cut in my office!”


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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