Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s unilateral decision this week to close prisons in southern lllinois could flip a traditionally Democratic area of the state to the GOP, outraged Democratic lawmakers told Illinois Statehouse News. State Rep. Brandon Phelps, a Democrat said, “When you're doing something like this to southern Illinois, you're not helping any Democrat, to be honest with you.”
Legislators and labor leaders called Quinn a coward and an enemy to southern Illinois for his announcement that he still intends to shutter numerous correctional facilities throughout the state, including three in southern Illinois. Phelps noted the two southern Illinois counties Quinn won in the 2010 election were Alexander and Jackson, each of which have a correctional facility slated for closure — the Tamms super-max prison and the Illinois Youth Center. Quinn intends to close the Southern Illinois Adult Transition Center as well. Randy Clark, a lieutenant who has worked at Tamms for 13 years, said he has no idea what Quinn is thinking. “He's taking some bad advice, and I think he really needs to reconsider what he's getting ready to do,” Clark said, saying he believes injuries — and possibly killings — would increase at the state's prisons without Tamms.