Friday, December 1, 2023
Prison safety at risk

Rep. Phelps’ comments on recent attacks in Illinois’ prisons

February 7, 2013

Dear Editor:

Coincidently, it was almost exactly one year ago, that Governor Quinn unveiled his plan to close the Tamms Correctional Center, a move that put 300 Southern Illinoisans in the unemployment line.  After this announcement I was determined to do everything in my power to reverse the governor’s irresponsible decision, which has been devastating to our already struggling economy while doing very little to help solve the state’s fiscal problems.

This week we learned of another trickledown effect that this closure has had on our region, the attack of two guards and chaplain.  The attack involved up to 15 inmates, luckily all three have survived.  These attacks are just the latest example of what has become a pattern at IDOC since Governor Quinn’s decision to close Tamms Correctional Center.  Clearly, these prisons are way too overcrowded and understaffed, just as my fellow legislators and local officials AFSCME officials have warned.

Despite all our efforts this past year, the governor has chosen to make it more dangerous by consolidating staff and further overcrowding the remaining facilities in our state.  The governor made this decision in the face of already overcrowded prisons and an ever-rising prison population.  Since Tamms has closed, the number of episodes of violence has increased and still nothing is being done.

My deepest condolences go out to the victims of these attacks and their families. I hope that incidents like this will force the governor to become more involved in this issue, before these attacks become a more regular occurrence, since there have been at least 4 incidents of violence since the closure of Tamms.

I will continue working with state Representatives Jerry Costello II and Mike Bost, as well as state Senator Gary Forby to show our governor he needs to target the wasteful spending in state government, rather than cutting good-paying jobs that are hard to find in our region.  We must continue working together to strengthen and grow our economy in Southern Illinois without the threat of violence for those who can find work.  For more information, please call my office at (618) 253-4189.


Brandon Phelps

State Representative

118th District