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Still No Decision In Union’s Case Against Illinois Closure Plans

Signs dot lawns throughout southern Illinois, urging Governor Pat Quinn to keep the Tamms Correctional Center Open.
Jacob McCleland

CAIRO, IL (KRCU/The Cairo Citizen) - Lawyers from the state of Illinois and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) concluded three days of hearings Wednesday in Alexander County Court.

Judge Charles Cavaness did not issue a decision.

AFSCME is seeking a permanent injunction to block the state from transferring inmates from the Tamms Correctional Center, Dwight Correctional Center and other facilities in Illinois.

The Cairo Citizen’s Isaac Smith tells KRCU that AFSCME lawyers argued for the safety of its members by bringing in testimony from state union leaders.

“So they were really trying to sway judge Cavaness that there would be irreparable harm should these prisons [close] and their inmates be transferred without proper precautions taken,” Smith said.

Illinois state attorneys argued that it would be financially irresponsible to keep the Super-maximum security prison in Tamms, which costs $62,000 per year per inmate.

“[It’s] upwards of $28 million dollars should the facilities, all five of them, stay open through the end of year,” Smith said.

Lawyers did not give closing arguments. Judge Cavaness requested both sides submit written briefs by Wednesday of next week.

“It could be a week, two weeks, however long, until he gets to read through the case file again and read through those briefs and issue a ruling,” Smith said.