Breaking News Bar
updated: 9/4/2012 5:48 PM

Judge bars Quinn from closing prisons

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • On Tuesday, a judge in southern Illinois issued an order temporarily prohibiting Gov. Pat Quinn from closing prisons in Tamms and Dwight, three halfway houses and youth detention centers in Joliet and Murphysboro.

      On Tuesday, a judge in southern Illinois issued an order temporarily prohibiting Gov. Pat Quinn from closing prisons in Tamms and Dwight, three halfway houses and youth detention centers in Joliet and Murphysboro.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- Prison closures planned by Gov. Pat Quinn could "make the prisons that remain more dangerous," a southern Illinois judge declared Tuesday in prohibiting shutdowns until the administration answers state workers' concerns.

The temporary restraining order from Associate Circuit Judge Charles Cavaness in Alexander County also bars layoffs and inmate transfers from prisons in Tamms and Dwight, three halfway houses and juvenile detention centers in Joliet and Murphysboro.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees sought intervention by Cavaness after an arbitrator ruled Friday that Quinn had violated the union contract by planning to shut most of the facilities by Aug. 31 without completing required bargaining.

Quinn's administration filed an appeal Friday in Cook County to overturn the arbitrator's ruling and a spokeswoman for the governor lamented Tuesday that "progress to make Illinois a better place ... continues to be halted."

The closures are among prisons and juvenile centers, mental health and developmental disability centers that the Democratic governor says must be closed to save money in a budget crisis. But shuttering prisons stole the spotlight -- particularly the underused but specialized and relatively new high-security lockup at Tamms -- as the system already has 15,000 more inmates than it was designed to hold.

Cavaness said closures "have the potential to make the prisons that remain more dangerous for employees. ... Thus, there are genuine disputes between the parties regarding the interpretation of the contract."

The independent arbitrator decreed that the administration had not completed so-called "impact" bargaining with the union over how the closures would affect state employees -- both those laid off and those who remain in a prison atmosphere the union considers dangerously overcrowded.

The arbitrator noted the state's budget problems, however, and ordered the two sides to reach an agreement in 30 days.

AFSCME feared the administration might sidestep that order and proceed with closures, so it sought the court order to shut the door on that scenario.

The union said Cavaness also denied the state's request to dismiss the case.

Quinn spokeswoman Kelly Kraft said officials are "examining options" both in Alexander and Cook counties. She repeated the administration's contention that "half-full, outdated and expensive facilities" must close to save money and increase efficiency.

"It is disappointing that progress to make Illinois a better place and to put its financial house in order continues to be halted," Kraft said.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here