* Frankly, I’m kind of ashamed to say that I didn’t even know Tamms had a minimum security prison camp…
Inmates are moving out of Tamms Correctional Center’s minimum-security camp in advance of the prison’s Aug. 31 closure date.
Maximum-security inmate transfers have not begun, nor has a start date for those transfers been set, Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman Stacey Solano said.
Solano said about 30 minimum-security inmates were being moved Thursday from Tamms to the Hardin County Work Camp, on Illinois 1 in Cave-in-Rock. Solano said 145 minimum-security inmates remain at Tamms.
“The remaining minimum-security inmates will be appropriately transferred across the system in the coming weeks,” Solano said. “IDOC will implement the closures responsibly and in a way that prioritizes public safety and security while minimizing the impact on staff and inmates.”
Hardin County Work Camp was opened in 1980. Solano said there are 230 inmates, counting the new arrivals from Tamms. The facility’s capacity is 288 inmates, Solano said.
* Apparently, things can get pretty hairy at minimum security prisons…
Last Thursday, a near-riot broke out at a minimum-security prison in the Illinois Quad-Cities shortly after the facility lost both power and running water. When prisoners erupted in anger and refused to return to their cells, a tactical team was deployed, threatening prisoners with tear gas until they submitted. The prison was placed on full lockdown until Saturday evening.
Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC) spokeswoman Stacey Solano told the Quad-City Times that repair crews accidentally severed a set of power lines Thursday night while attempting to fix a water main break at the East Moline Correctional Center (EMCC).
Gregg Johnson, a prison supply supervisor and president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 46, which represents local prison employees, told the Moline Dispatch that the drawn-out heat wave and overcrowding have exacerbated tensions among prisoners. “Correctional officers told me they have never seen anything like it. All hell broke loose.”
According to Johnson, after the facility lost power, enraged prisoners began throwing tables and chairs against windows in the day room. When told to return to their cells, they began chanting, “Hell, no, we won’t go!”
* Meanwhile, I’m not quite understanding the uproar made by some legislators about transferring prisoners out of state. We belong to an interstate compact, so we send prisoners to other states regularly, and they do the same with their prisoners. The only cost is transportation. And if we can get some of our most notorious prisoners out of here, why not do it? Why spend huge dollars, for instance, to keep them incarcerated at Tamms?…
The proposal to move prisoners has state lawmakers questioning the cost of inmate transfers and whether or not Illinois’ remaining prisons will be able to hold inmates from Tamms Correctional Center and the all-women Dwight Correctional Center, both of which Quinn said he wants to close on Aug. 31 to save an estimated $48 millions.
“Our correction system is already greatly overpopulated,” said state Rep. Jason Barickman, R-Champaign, whose district includes the Dwight Correctional Center. “If the governor is choosing to close prisons that is going to further aggravate that system.”
But in an effort to avoid some of that aggravation, the governor is opting to move prisoners out of the system completely, Barickman said.
“First and foremost the ability of our state to house our criminals is a core function of the government that I believe should be provided by our state government,” Barickman said.
The argument just seems phony and contrived to me. Anything to kick up dust over the prison closures, I suppose.