COGFA Recommends Tamms Stay Open

May 1, 2012

A panel of Illinois lawmakers is going against the recommended closure of the state's only super max prison.

It's also not in favor of closing other facilities Governor Pat Quinn is calling for. The Illinois Department of Corrections is looking to cut more than 100-million from its budget next year. To get there, the IDOC wants to layoff workers by closing the Tamms Supermax prison, the Dwight women's prison, and others.  Republican state representative Patti Bellock voted against closing Tamms and the other facilities in part because of the negative impact to the communities where the facilities are located: "I cannot support Tamms but the comprehensive plan needs to be in place that when we make a change like this, a huge change that impacts the people's lives that it has to be done in the correct way."

COGFA's  recommendations are nonbinding. Governor Quinn, meanwhile, says the closures are needed to restore fiscal stability in the state and will move forward with his plans.  Closing Tamms is estimated to have a nearly 33-million dollar impact on the southern Illinois economy.  A financial impact study indicates closing the prison would result in a combined loss of 338-jobs and more than 11-million dollars in wages. Closing Tamms would also cost Alexander County and the state its share of more than 200-hundred thousand dollars in sales tax and 110-thousand dollars in income tax annually.