From the moment it opened in 1998, Illinois’ super-max Tamms prison has been controversial for its high costs and the harsh treatment of its inmates, says the Chicago Tribune. Critics say it is long past time to shutter a prison known for conditions often compared with the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
What many familiar with the system agree on is that Gov. Pat Quinn’s call to close Tamms and the Dwight women’s prison would leave the state’s corrections system perilously overcrowded and even more desperately in need of reform. A prison system designed for 33,000 inmates that is already holding close to 48,000 would be doing so with two fewer prisons. “These changes will make a bad situation worse,” said John Maki of the John Howard Association, a not-for-profit prison watchdog group. “The governor needs to double down and make sure he tackles prison reform and reduces the population.”