tammsA recent attack on prison guards at Pontiac Correctional Center serves to highlight the short-sighted decision to close a prison in Southern Illinois.

Tamms Correctional Center, a “supermax” prison that housed Illinois’ most dangerous criminals, closed its doors in 2013 as a casualty of then-Gov. Pat Quinn’s budget. State Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) led the fight four years ago to keep the prison open and is urging the current governor to reconsider his predecessor’s decision.

“Tamms was built with the purpose of housing violent prisoners who have attacked Corrections officers and other prisoners,” said Forby, who represents the prison’s namesake town. “The attack last week in Pontiac could have been avoided if Tamms were still open.”

Tamms was built in the 1990s under then-Gov. Jim Edgar after officials with the Illinois Department of Corrections pleaded for help in getting the state prison system’s gang problem under control. Inmates who attacked guards and other prisoners would have had to worry about getting sent to Tamms, which held inmates under solitary confinement for 22 to 24 hours a day, Forby said.

“Now that Tamms is closed, there is no deterrent for inmates who attack the men and women who are working hard to keep them and the general public safe,” Forby said. “Closing Tamms only added to the dangerous overcrowding at Pontiac and Menard (Correctional Center), and now we are seeing the results of that.”

Forby added that Gov. Bruce Rauner has followed in Quinn’s footsteps by keeping Tamms closed.

“There were six Corrections officers sent to the hospital from an attack that never should have happened,” Forby said. “There is a modern, efficient prison in Southern Illinois sitting vacant because of Pat Quinn’s mistake. Governor Rauner has the chance to reverse that mistake.”

Category: News Releases

forbysb2095Southern Illinois University and other state universities would finally get state support and potentially scale back program cuts and layoffs thanks to legislation Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) supported Thursday in the Illinois Senate.

Forby helped the Senate approve legislation that includes $185 million in support for SIU. The vote comes just days after university leaders warned lawmakers that deep cuts and layoffs were coming because the state had stopped supporting state schools.

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Category: News Releases

Forby working for SIU SPRINGFIELD - A measure sponsored by State Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) allowing the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University to sell, lease or transfer and convey surplus real estate and retain the proceeds to be used for a scholarship fund was passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

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Category: News Releases

Higher Ed. SPRINGFIELD - Randy Dunn, president of the Southern Illinois University system, presented a grim outlook for the university Thursday in the Senate Appropriations Committee in Springfield. State Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) released the following statement:

“Southern Illinois University is one of the top employers in my district, as well as one of Illinois’ finest institutions of higher education. What we heard today was a real reminder of just what is happening in the face of the governor eliminating all state support for state schools.

“The thing is, we don’t have a number to work with because we don’t have a budget. SIU can’t prepare for the future and operate as it needs to because they don’t know where they will stand in the coming months. This situation could have been avoided when we passed a higher education bill last May. The governor blocked us from making progress. First he ran out the businesses, now he is running out the students. How many times do we need build something up just for it to be torn down for us to rebuild it again?

“What we need is a school funding plan, and we need it now.”



 

Category: News Releases

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