A group that pushed for the closure of Tamms Supermax Prison is criticizing the prison employees’ union for not supporting the move. Members of Tamms Year Ten demonstrated outside of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Chicago headquarters Thursday to express their displeasure. The union is concerned that the closure of the prison would add to the overcrowding in the rest of the prison system, but Tamms Year Ten organizer Laurie Jo Reynolds says Tamms guards will remain in the Department of Corrections.
“Every single employee affected by closures will be offer a position by corrections.” Reynolds said. Organizer Stephen Eisenman agrees that the closure of Tamms and transferring of guards would help the state’s prison system, which is understaffed. “Safety will be certainly increased because there are staff needs elsewhere that will be satisfied by moving those guards and other staff from Tamms to other places in Downstate Illinois,” he said.
The governor announced the closure of Tamms in June and is sticking by the move, despite AFSCME’s concerns. AFSCME has filed a suit to stop the closure and the state has asked that it be dismissed on the grounds that funding for Tamms has already been cut. Prisoner transfers have been temporarily stopped to give AFSCME time to respond to the state’s motion to dismiss