- Associated Press - Sunday, May 17, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A push from one Illinois lawmaker to reopen a super-maximum security state prison doesn’t appear to be gaining traction as the state continues to deal with an overcrowded correctional system.

Tamms prison in southern Illinois remains closed after former Gov. Pat Quinn shut it and dozens of other state facilities to slash the budget. Meanwhile, the state’s inmate population is at around 48,000 in prisons intended to hold 32,000.

The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises reports (https://bit.ly/1KedlNW ) reports that the reputation of the ‘supermax’ facility’s for harsh treatment of prisoners and an effort to study reduction in Illinoi’s prison population are big reasons why the effort is stalled.

Rep. Terri Bryant is the sponsor of a nonbinding resolution that calls on Gov. Bruce Rauner to get Tamms running again.

“I think there is a pressure building within all of the facilities that has to be relieved somehow,” the Murphysboro Republican told Lee Enterprises.

But her legislation has failed to go anywhere in the Illinois General Assembly, as the end of spring session draws near.

And the Republican governor’s attention appears to be more focused elsewhere, such as on reducing the prison population. A commission formed by the Republican governor is tasked with finding a way to reduce the number of inmates in Illinois by 25 percent over the next 10 years.

While Quinn shut down Tamms as part of a cost-saving effort, the prison’s reputation for harsh treatment of inmates was well-known at the time.

Prison watchdog groups reported brutal conditions inside the lockup and called the treatment of inmates there inhumane. Some prisoners living in solitary confinement had showed signs of mental health issues.

Tamms housed up to 500 of the state’s most violent inmates when it was open. Prisoners from other facilities who had behavior problems were sent to the Alexander County prison.

___

The resolution is HR233.

Online: https://www.ilga.gov/


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