Illinois Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn will deliver a bad-news budget today, suggesting that the state close numerous prisons, mental health centers and social service offices, and other cuts, says the Chicago Tribune. The problem is the same as it’s been for years: there’s not enough money coming in while costs are rising.
The governor will suggest closing the controversial Tamms super-max prison in far southern Illinois, the women’s prison in Dwight and juvenile justice centers in Joliet and downstate Murphysboro. Shutting down the super-maximum prison already is drawing plaudits from critics who contend the conditions at Tamms are so harsh that it qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment. John Maki of the John Howard Association, said Tamms is “overly harsh” on prisoners, who are kept in near-isolation. The prisoners face psychological damage that can make behavior worse, he said. While it would be cheaper to house super-max inmates elsewhere, Maki said, it “doesn’t make sense” to close the women’s prison at Dwight and it doesn’t address cells that are “seriously overcrowded.”