Hearing held on future of Tamms prison

TAMMS, IL (KFVS) - Hundreds of people met at Shawnee Community College to voice their opinion on Gov. Pat Quinn's proposal to close the correctional facility in Tamms.

People testified to the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability that will make a recommendation on if the state should close the facility or not.

Employee Union Representatives said they want to save the 275 jobs in Tamms and save lives in prisons by keeping the super max facility open.

"The reality of that is what price do you put on human life?" said Eric Caumiant, the AFSCME Council Regional Director. "Prior to Tamms we had many officers killed in the line of duty. Since Tamms was open, now it might be coincidental, but it's an awfully interesting coincidence that since that facility was open we have not had a lethal assault on a staff member."

The group Tamms Year Ten wants to close the facility. They think the prisoner treatment is inhumane.

"The capacity to deal with these people, even the most violent certainly exists," said Stephen Eiseman with Tamms Year 10. "There isn't a need for this kind of absolute confinement. I have to add the most expensive type of absolute confinement as is this attempt."

Caumiant says there is already overcrowding in the prisons the Tamms inmates would go to, while Eiseman says those prisons are capable of taking care of these inmates.

Eiseman says he hopes the State of Illinois can find other jobs for the Tamms employees, but thinks the facility needs to close because of extreme solitary confinement.

The commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability will take comments through April 21.

Mail your comments to:

Attn: Facility Closure
703 Stratton Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Email to : facilityclosure@ilga.gov

Please include your name, facility being closed, your position (for against no position), and your email if you want confirmation

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