Union employees picket against prison cuts in Illinois - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Union employees picket against prison cuts in Illinois

State employees represented by the AFSCME Union gathered en masse Thursday to protest state cuts and proposed facility closures. State employees represented by the AFSCME Union gathered en masse Thursday to protest state cuts and proposed facility closures.
JONESBORO, IL (KFVS) -

JONESBORO, IL (KFVS) - State employees represented by the AFSCME Union gathered en masse Thursday to protest state cuts and proposed facility closures.

It was part of what AFSCME titled a "Day of Action". Informational pickets took place at 80 different locations around the state including Jonesboro, Carbondale and Pinckneyville.

Thursday morning, employees of Tamms, Shawnee and Vienna Correctional Centers, as well as Choate Mental Health and the Anna Veterans Home lined the Jonesboro town square in bright red T-shirts holding signs that read: "No Quinn Cuts."

The group in Jonesboro focused primarily on the proposed closure of Tamms Correctional Center that they say would put 300 people out of a job and force 398 of the "worst of the worst" inmates in the state out of the Super-max facility at Tamms and back into other facilities throughout the state.

An afternoon rally in front of Pinckneyville Correctional Center aimed to support other facilities slated for closure, but employees remain fearful of what facility closures might mean for Pinckneyville.

Union members on the informational picket line told Heartland News they'd heard whispers as to possible changes to the type of facility Pinckneyville could become that concerned them.

According to IDOC spokesperson Stacy Solano, there are a variety of possibilities on the table for remaining facilities in the state.

"The Governor has tasked most agencies with reducing spending by approximately 9% which equals around $112 million for the Department of Corrections," Solano said. "Given the resources available, DOC is creating a more specialized and focused service delivery system and is looking at new, efficient and innovative ways to provide offenders with services. This will be accomplished by designating certain facilities that will focus on different areas such as mental health services, substance abuse treatment, vocational programming, etc."

When asked if such changes could take place at Pinckneyville Correctional Center, Solano would only say there are still many details to be worked out and further specifics will be provided at a later time.

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