Illinois Governor Pat Quinn proposed closing the Tamms Correctional Center in southern Illinois in 2012.  The prison is the only super-maximum security prison in Illinois. Governor Quinn says the cash-strapped state needs to close expensive facilities like Tamms, which costs $62,000 per inmate per year. Opponents argue Illinois' prison system is already overcrowded and that closing Tamms would present irreparable harm to corrections officials.

JHA: Prison Overcrowding Exacerbates Violence

Mar 1, 2013
Tamms Correctional Center
Tamms / IDOC

Illinois’ top prison watchdog group says overcrowding is exacerbating inmate violence.

The John Howard Association suspects recent prison closings are partly to blame.

With the recent closing of the Tamms Correctional Center, the Menard Correctional Center in Chester received an influx of inmates.

Since that closing, two prisoner deaths and an inmate assault on three staff members have occurred.

John Maki is the executive director of the John Howard Association. He says overcrowding presents extreme dangers to the prison system.

Tamms May Lose Its Post Office Too

Dec 21, 2012
Jacob McCleland / KRCU

It looks certain the village of Tamms, Illinois will lose its Supermax prison, and now another closure looms large. The village’s post office announced it will shut down on December 28.

A lease disagreement between the U.S. Postal Service and the local office building’s owner might shut off mail service to the Alexander County town.

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

An arbitrator decided Illinois Governor Pat Quinn can close the Tamms Supermax prison, the all-female Dwight prison, and other facilities.

Governor Quinn filed a petition in Cook County asking for authorization to proceed with the consolidations.

Arbitrator Steve Bierig said the state met its obligation to bargain with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, the union that represent prison workers.

Bierig also decided the closures would not present a “clear and present danger” to prison workers.

Tamms Correctional Center
Tamms / IDOC

A southern Illinois judge decided in favor of a prison workers union on Wednesday and against the State of Illinois in the ongoing battle over facility closures.

That will keep the Tamms Supermax prison open for the foreseeable future.

Judge Charles Cavaness upheld an arbitrator’s findings that the state violated its contract with the union by moving to close facilities prior to the conclusion of impact bargaining.

The judge also found that closing corrections facilities would create an unsafe work environment in the state’s remaining prisons.

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

Sep 27, 2012
Signs dot lawns throughout southern Illinois, urging Governor Pat Quinn to keep the Tamms Correctional Center Open.
Jacob McCleland / KRCU

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.