Judge halts Illinois prison closures, inmate transfers
SPRINGFIELD – A southern Illinois judge on Tuesday struck another blow – a temporary one, at least – to Gov. Pat Quinn’s plan to close several state correctional facilities and consolidate inmates elsewhere in an effort to save money.
Alexander County Circuit Judge Charles Cavaness granted a request for a temporary restraining order sought by the union representing correctional officers and other state workers.
In addition, the union, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, last week was on the winning side of an arbitrator’s ruling that said the state violated employee contracts by failing to negotiate with them before going ahead with the prison closures.
Quinn’s initial plan was to close several facilities throughout the state and consolidate inmates by Aug. 31. The closures now are on hold indefinitely until the legal matters are worked out.
Slated for closure are the Tamms “super max” prison in Alexander County in far southern Illinois and the Dwight women’s prison about 80 miles southwest of Chicago; adult transition centers in Joliet, Decatur, Chicago and Carbondale; and the Illinois Youth Center in Murphysboro.
AFSCME director Henry Bayer said Quinn’s plan to close the facilities is “reckless” and noted that the Legislature approved money in the budget for this year to keep the facilities open.
“There is no rationale for closing these facilities,” Bayer said. “We urge Gov. Quinn to drop his push to close needed prisons, undermine communities and destroy good jobs.”
Kelly Kraft, Quinn’s communications director, said the state has empty, half-full, outdated and expensive taxpayer-funded correctional facilities.
“…it is disappointing that progress to make Illinois a better place and to put its financial house in order continues to be halted,” she said. “We are examining options, both in this litigation and in our appeal of Friday’s arbitration ruling in Cook County circuit court. We remain committed to our closure plans and are eager to resolve this matter as quickly as possible.”
Contact Jayette Bolinski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
74.0 F (23.3 C)
Pressure : 1005.7 mb
Humidity : 67 %
Wind : Southwest at 10.4 MPH (9 KT)
What's on FOX Illinois Full Schedule
So You Think You Can
NewsChannel at 9 on Fox
Two and a Half Men
The Big Bang Theory
Everybody Loves Raymond