Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Lawmakers Call For Override On Quinn Prison Funding Veto
State lawmakers and the union representing thousands of correctional officers are calling for an override of Gov. Pat Quinn‘s veto that slashed funding for two prisons and two youth centers. A lawsuit to stop the closures is a possibility, too, a union official said Tuesday.
“The biggest concern I have is not only the safety of our employees, but the safety of our citizens,” said state Sen. John O. Jones, R-Mount Vernon. “ We (lawmakers) put that money in the budget for a reason, and that was to keep these facilities open.”
Eight lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans from both chambers of the General Assembly, pointed to the potential for overcrowding and increased violence in the state’s prisons, citing an Associated Press report from Monday that identified several recent reports of violence.
Among the incidents in the Associated Press report were:
An inmate using a “self-made plastic weapon” to assault a correctional officer on May 26;
Two maximum-security inmates attacking a guard on June 3;
Heroin overdoses by two inmates at a prison on June 10;
A fight on June 29 that resulted in one inmate stabbing another nine times in a cell.
Quinn wants to close four correctional facilities saying he'll use the money for the state Department of Children and Family Services. Quinn also has reached out to the Federal Bureau of Prisons to see if it would buy the Tamms facility from the state. Spokeswoman Kelley Kraft said, “Some will say that money was provided in the budget to keep these facilities open, when in reality legislators made a choice on how to spend taxpayer dollars: choosing outdated, half-full, expensive prisons over educating our children and keeping them safe.”
You can read Jayette's full report at: http://illinois.statehousenewsonline.com/8989/lawmakers-call-for-override-of-quinns-prison-funding-veto/