Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn today proposed closing Tamms super max prison, Dwight maximum security prison for women, two juvenile detention centers and six halfway houses to make up for a budget shortfall.
Conditions at Tamms have been compared to those at Guantanamo Bay, where detainees of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars are held. For at least 23 hours a day, prisoners sit in solitary confinement in 7-by-12-foot cells. There is little to no contact with the outside world. Inmates are allowed one hour for exercise in outdoor cages, and receive meals through a chuckhole. For a rare visit from relatives or friends, inmates are strip-searched, chained to a concrete stool and separated from visitors by a thick glass wall.
The state legislature still has to approve Quinn’s budget, and closing prisons is not likely to be popular; however, the extraordinary expense to operate Tamms—$64,000 per inmate per year, almost triple the state average of other facilities—may persuade lawmakers to shut it down.
Check out the resources below for more:
- Inside the Tamms super max prison
- Rights of transgender prisoners
- Sylvia Rivera Law Project
- Black and Pink
- Prison facts
- Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois
- Transgender issues and the criminal justice system
- Queer, feminist and trans politics of prison abolition
- Tranzmission Prison Project
- The Abolitionist