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The explosion that never really happened

Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014

* All those predictions that shutting the Tamms supermax prison would create mayhem at other prisons don’t appear to be panning out…

Although serious problems remain at the state’s largest maximum-security prison, a new report found the overall number of violent events at the Menard Correctional Center dropped in 2013. […]

Republican gubernatorial candidate state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale has called for Tamms to be reopened because those inmates could injure guards.

In fact, the report showed an influx of new prisoners at Menard was offset by an increase in the number of guards who moved to the facility when Tamms closed. […]

Other changes include an effort to put more inmates to work. The report noted the number of inmates with job assignments had grown to 550 in 2013, up from 365 in 2012.

* Not everything is going well, however. From the report

Unfortunately, some positives noted in our previous report, such as availability of single-cells for many inmates in mental health housing, have been erased.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 11:56 am:

    Maybe they can get the prisoners to install new locks to reduce the workman’s comp claims by the guards…just sayin.

  2. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 11:59 am:

    –Unfortunately, some positives noted in our previous report, such as availability of single-cells for many inmates in mental health housing, have been erased–

    I’m waiting to hear how the next governor will shake it up and work night and day for an alternative to locking up the mentally ill in cages.

    That’s the job, Bruce, Pat. You got game? Show me.

    ” I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

  3. - Joan P. - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 12:20 pm:

    Which rather suggests that people were being sent to Tamms unnecessarily.

  4. - Wayne Bibliotechaucrat - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 12:27 pm:

    Ouch Dillard and Tracy who appear to have no other platform.

    And Brady. And Rutherford.

    Oh yeah, and Rauner was going to reopen Tamms too.

  5. - Southerner - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 12:30 pm:

    What is comical is the movement to re-open Tamms is now being headed by Republicans who have long promoted cutting waste from government. Anything for a vote, I imagine. If the same group would take 5 minutes to research the issue, they will find that the concept of solitary confinement, for the purposes they were being used at Tamms, is antiquated, wasteful, and counterproductive to wise corrections practice. But don’t let the statistics and studies get into the way.

  6. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 12:38 pm:

    === With double-cells as small as 4 feet 8 inches wide ===

    === two persons housed together in this type of forced, constant intimacy have an “enormously high risk of becoming paranoid, hostile, and potentially violent towards each other. ===

    === Maximum-Security Facility Population: 3,332
    Maximum-Security Rated Capacity: 2,600 ===

    It seems only a matter of time until Illinois’ lawsuits and overcrowding begin making news just as California’s did.

  7. - PoolGuy - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 12:41 pm:

    Southerner - cutting waste “except where there are lots of voters where said state facilities are located”. and locking up people from Chicago and bigger cities for minor drug offenses to provide jobs in rural downstate areas is not a good long term solution for budgets or humanity.

  8. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 12:57 pm:

    Our jails are the largest mental health treatment centers because a lot of inmates are mentally ill and beyond modest treatments. I favor reopening Tamms so that these individuals can be safely cared for. Safe for society, safe for the prison employees and safe for the inmates.

    It’ll cost, but a whole lot less than having this population on our streets.

  9. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:03 pm:

    == locking up people from Chicago and bigger cities for minor drug offenses to provide jobs in rural downstate areas==

    That’s just a dopey statement. Nobody is grabbing people off the street in Chicago just to provide jobs elsewhere.

  10. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:05 pm:

    Well said, @PoolGuy. Incarceration should not be viewed as a “jobs” program.

    To the post, it is very surprising they made no mention of the uptick in murders at Menard last year.

    William Crowder, Jason Hall and Yusuf Abzir were all murdered within a 2 month span last year, between January 31 2013 - March 26 2013.

    The report also notes an increase in serious inmate-on-staff and inmate-on-inmate assaults, but attributes that to better recording policies and stricter enforcement of assault rules rather than the increase in population.

  11. - John Howard Association - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:25 pm:

    @Formerly Known As–This report updates a previous report we released in April 2013, which discussed the inmate murders. You can find it here:

  12. - MrJM - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:27 pm:

    “Our jails are the largest mental health treatment centers because a lot of inmates are mentally ill and beyond modest treatments. I favor reopening Tamms so that these individuals can be safely cared for.”

    And I propose that we reopen Tamms for use as a Major League Baseball stadium. Sure it wasn’t designed for that purpose and it wouldn’t be any good at it — but as long as we’re just flailing around for any rationale for reopening it…

    – MrJM

  13. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:36 pm:

    –”Our jails are the largest mental health treatment centers because a lot of inmates are mentally ill and beyond modest treatments.–

    Very true.

    As a society, we need to wrap our minds around that and make some changes.

    The idea of treating a guy of sound mind who knocks off a liquor store the same as a lost soul who is paranoid schizophrenic is just messed up.

    It’s a great challenge to our collective humanity. The sooner we get it on it, the better.

    Let’s shake it up, night and day.

  14. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 1:49 pm:

    @John Howard Association - thank you. I appreciate it. And please keep up the good work!

  15. - PoolGuy - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 2:07 pm:

    Demoralized, I said locking people up for minor drug offenses. not “grabbing” random people off the street. there are lots of people in prisons for minor drug offenses all over the country that keep our prisons overcrowded. I’m not the first person to mention this.

  16. - W.S. Walcott - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 3:26 pm:

    I’d be willing to bet the number of people who housed at Tamms for simply “minor drug offenses or knocking off a liquor store,” were minimal. I get it. Some people don’t like prisons, especially Tamms, but using hyperbole to suggest that states most difficult prisoners are/were somehow low-level offenders is too much.

    This is more representative of the type of inmate housed at Tamms. ..

    How many hands are raised to take this guy into their home, upon release?

  17. - A guy... - Tuesday, Feb 25, 14 @ 3:49 pm:

    To the headline of this one: boom not BOOM!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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