Lawmaker hopes to re-purpose prison to save jobs - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Lawmaker hopes to re-purpose prison to save jobs

Employees at Tamms already got their pink slips. Employees at Tamms already got their pink slips.
A Heartland lawmaker hopes making some changes may save those jobs. A Heartland lawmaker hopes making some changes may save those jobs.
Rep. Brandon Phelps says at the current time it doesn't look good for Tamms in Springfield. Rep. Brandon Phelps says at the current time it doesn't look good for Tamms in Springfield.
TAMMS, IL (KFVS) -

Employees at Tamms already got their pink slips, but a Heartland lawmaker hopes making some changes may save those jobs.

Right now, Rep. Brandon Phelps says at the current time it doesn't look good for Tamms in Springfield.

"There's a philosophical difference with a lot of people in and around Chicago that they think it's inhumane to keep prisoners incarcerated 23 hours a day," Phelps said.

The Harrisburg Democrat is suggesting the prison be re-purposed from the super max it is now to maximum or medium security. He says that change may keep Tamms from being shuttered.

"If the budget were done, right now, right now I don't think we'd have enough votes to save Tamms," said Phelps. "But if you take out the super max, and get rid of the philosophical difference we have a chance at keeping those jobs and that revenue here in Southern Illinois."

Rep. Phelps says his plan is not set in stone yet, but he says he's gotten a more positive response from some lawmakers that opposed Tamms before.

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