- Published: Friday, November 30, 2012 03:51 PM
Last week brought yet another defeat to Governor Quinn’s plan to throw people out of their jobs by closing prisons, halfway houses and juvenile detention centers across the state.
An Illinois appellate court denied the governor’s latest request to toss out the restraining order that had kept open prisons in Tamms and Dwight, three halfway houses and a juvenile detention center.
While this news means these institutions are safe for now, the governor already promised to appeal and take his facility closure plan to the State Supreme Court.
In the meantime, 135 new corrections officers were just hired by the Department of Corrections in an attempt to maintain control over the severe overcrowding issues within our prisons. A new class of corrections officers is a great step toward combating the safety problems stemming from overcrowding. However, the influx in staffing will prove meaningless if the
governor's prison closure plan moves forward and an additional 2,000 inmates are jam-packed into other facilities. Should this happen, we will again be left with a dangerous staff to inmate ratio, further overcrowding in facilities not equipped for the population they are being forced to maintain, and a system that is more hazardous and volatile to employees, staff and the public.
The governor needs to stop this senseless battle. Providing a safe and secure work and institutional environment for employees and inmates should be our top priority. We will not be able to achieve that if he succeeds in these closures. While the appellate court ruling is a victory, we have not yet won the war. As your State Senator, I will continue to fight to maintain the safety and employment of the corrections officers at these facilities, as well as the overall wellbeing of inmates and the people of Illinois.