Union sues to block Illinois prison closings

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Stamp counterfeiting sentence

The union representing public workers filed suit to stop Illinois from shutting down several correctional facilities in the state.

Read the full lawsuit here:  AFSCME lawsuit to halt prison closings in Illinois

Citing dangerous overcrowding and safety risks to employees, AFSCME filed suit Thursday, August 2, 2012 in Alexander County.  The union wants its grievances related to those concerns addressed before the facilities are closed.

They’re seeking an injunction to stop the closure of Tamms and Dwight prisons, which are both scheduled to shut down August 31.  The union also wants to halt the closure of adult transition centers in Carbondale, Chicago and Decatur as well as youth centers in Joliet and Murphysboro.

The AFSCME website says the adult correctional system in Illinois already has more than 48,000 inmates housed in facilities built for 33,000 inmates.   The union voiced concern that transferring 5,000 inmates from the closing facilities would overcrowd other prisons and pose a safety risk to employees.

A spokesperson for Governor Pat Quinn disagreed, saying the closures were proceeding safely.  She defended them saying the number of people housed at the closing facilities is dropping and the closings are a necessary part of the state’s tightening budget.