“Illinois Unions Fight Prison Closures” @ In These Times

Posted on August 29, 2012

Kari Lydersen — August 28, 2012: “In Illinois, the battle over slated prison closings is highlighting how unions that represent prison guards can find themselves at odds with the push to reform a discriminatory and overly punitive criminal-justice system. Several prisons and juvenile detention facilities are currently scheduled for closing as part of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s attempts to close the state’s budget hole. But AFSCME, the public sector union representing guards and other correctional workers, says that closing these facilities will cause overcrowding and dangerous conditions at other institutions.

One of the prisons slated for closure is Tamms, a controversial super-max facility in southern Illinois that has long been the target of a shutdown campaign by family members and activists. For years, many demanded Tamms be closed because of the harsh solitary confinement conditions and the documented extreme physical and mental impacts on inmates. It appears that what these human-rights arguments did not achieve, the budget crisis now has.

But prison guards and union leaders say the closure of Tamms, Dwight (the state’s only women’s prison) and transitional facilities will make conditions more dangerous and difficult for prison workers. and by extension, for inmates……………………”

Read more at In These Times.