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Fri January 18, 2013
AFSCME Continues Closure Fight
A spokesman for Illinois' prisoner workers union says closure of the state correctional facility in Dwight is at least a couple months off.
Ed Caumiant with AFSCME Council 31 says that's merely a guess. He says transfers of male prisoners from the Logan Correctional Center have started in order to make room for the women housed in Dwight. But Caumiant says the state Department of Corrections hasn't come through with a firm closure date.
The Tamms Supermax Correctional Center closed late last month. But Caumiant says it's still in question whether the state can reasonably close any correctional facility and still uphold safety standards. For example, he says the Sheridan prison is now operating with more inmates than ever:
"It's supposed to be a therapeutic community. They've had to suspend many, if not all of their drug treatment classes, just to make room for, and had to deal with this huge influx of 100's of inmates coming from all over the state. We're seeing a state that is doing absolutely irresponsible things with their inmate population, and th eir prison system as a whole."
Caumiant says despite Governor Pat Quinn's announcement that several sites would close within weeks, AFSCME's legal efforts continue. He notes the Illinois Supreme Court only ruled against the injunction to keep the prisons open, and did not address the concerns in the union's lawsuit about safety and health in state correctional facilities.