House Proposal Keeps Tamms Prison Open

Prison would be changed from a super-max to medium-security facility

Wednesday, May 30, 2012  |  Updated 8:39 PM CDT
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House Proposal Keeps Tamms Prison Open

The super-maximum security prison in Tamms may stay open under one of the budget plans proposed by the Illinois House on Wednesday.

Gov. Pat Quinn proposed to cut Tamms and several other prisons and mental institutions in a February budget plan, however many people protested the loss of jobs and adequate prison facilities in Illinois.

The new plan would keep Tamms and several other prisons in Illinois open for an extra $58 million a year, but would relegate Tamms to a medium security prison.

Rep. Luis Arroyo (D-Chicago) said the prison would be "retooled" and converted to a medium-security facility within a year because its isolation of inmates is inhumane.

Tamms was scrutinized by the New Yorker in 2009 for its use of long-term solitary confinement. One inmate, Robert Felton, spoke to the magazine about Tamms being "like a lab."

"I wouldn't wish solitary confinement on anybody," Felton told the New Yorker.

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