State lawmakers speak out against prison closures - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

State lawmakers speak out against prison closures

State lawmakers and union workers protest the governor's decision to close the Tamms Supermax prison. State lawmakers and union workers protest the governor's decision to close the Tamms Supermax prison.
The Tamms Correction Center is set to close August 31. The Tamms Correction Center is set to close August 31.
SPRINGFIELD, IL (KFVS) -

A memo from the Illinois Department of Corrections makes the decision to close the Tamms Supermax prison final.

That memo, sent Tuesday, also finalizes the closing of the Murphysboro Youth Center.

State Representative Mike Bost (R) 115th District says he's mad. He says the money is there and that the governor is going back on his word.

"We had a deal," Phelps said Wednesday morning during a press conference in Carbondale. He called the governor's actions "cowardly" and said it's "an all out attack on southern Illinois."

"This governor doesn't care about southern Illinois," said State Senator Gary Forby (D) at the press conference. "He's looking for a seat with Blagojevich and Ryan in jail."

Forby urged Gov. Quinn to give southern Illinois its fair share. "This fight's not over," Forby said. "We're gonna fight and we're gonna win."

"The governor has made a clear decision that he wants to endanger the lives of the people who work in the prisons and the inmates," said State Representative Mike Bost R-115th District on Tuesday. "He's also made a clear decision to choose to turn on the legislators on both sides of the isle who felt we had a commitment from him. And his word is no good."

"When we go to overcrowded conditions the inmates turn on the inmates first before they turn on the guards. So remember that."

State Senator Dave Luechtefeld says to call him disappointed is an understatement.

He says the budget sent to Gov. Pat Quinn did include funding for the prisons, even though Tamms workers started receiving pink slips near the end of May.

Other centers on the list to close include Dwight Correctional Center, Southern Illinois ATC, Decatur ATC, Westside ATC, and Illinois Youth Center Joliet.

"We have to go through the process of picking new jobs, most of those jobs will be a pay cuts for all of us," said Tonya Knust a Juvenile Justice Specialist at IYC Murphysboro. "That's if we get to keep a job, some people might be laid off. A lot of us are probably going to opt to go to an adult institution. And with them closing Tamms that puts our safety at risk."

The facilities are expected to close on August 31 except for IYC Joliet which will close on October 31.

The closures of Peoria ATC and Fox Valley ATC have been postponed indefinitely.

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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