—State Senator Gary Forby [/quote]
“This entire process has been too rushed,” Phelps said. “I’m very concerned that in their haste to close Tamms and other correctional facilities, the governor’s administration has put the health and safety of the people, prison guards, and even inmates at risk, so I’m glad to see inmate transfers temporarily stopped.”
“I know that the decision to stop transferring prisoners is only temporary, but I hope it becomes permanent,” Forby said. “There are too many jobs at stake, Illinois’ prisons are already overcrowded, and it just makes no sense to move inmates from one of Illinois’ newest operational prisons to two of its oldest prisons.”[pullquote_right]I’m glad to see inmate transfers temporarily stopped
—State Rep Brandon Phelps[/pullquote_right] The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31 and the governor’s office agreed to the temporary halt on the same day that a judge in Alexander County was scheduled to hear an AFSCME lawsuit seeking to stop the close of Tamms, Dwight Correctional Center, two youth centers, and two adult transition centers (halfway houses). The judge declined to make any decisions until after the arbitration meeting scheduled for next week.
Governor Pat Quinn of Chicago’s administration has been attempting to close the correctional facilities for months, despite strong opposition from members of the General Assembly, local elected officials, AFSCME, and others. They claim the closure will save $57 million per year without causing any Tamms employee layoffs.
“I still don’t understand the governor’s reasoning,” Forby said. “It doesn’t cost $57 million to keep the lights on. He almost has to be planning to lay people off.”
“Maybe this arbitration meeting will make the governor see the light,” Phelps said. “At the very least, I hope it makes him come up with a safer plan for moving violent criminals.”