Decatur - Circulating a simple one page memo has ignited a firestorm over potential closings of prisons and inmate transitional centers.
The memo, which WAND News first reported on Tuesday, was distributed to state employees informing them Governor Quinn has made a "final decision" to close inmate transitional centers in Decatur and Carbondale, a youth facility in Murphysboro, and prisons in Tamms and Dwight. The decision to close the facilities comes even before Governor Pat Quinn has acted on the state budget passed by the legislature in May.
"We will fight this tooth and nail," said State Representative Adam Brown (R) Decatur. "Our public safety hinges upon it."
"We're shocked and disappointed," stated AFSCME Council 31 staff representative Roger Griffith. "More than 1,000 middle class jobs he is going to eradicate." AFSCME represents workers in the correctional facilities. "Local elected leaders, law enforcement people have been standing beside us for months advocating to keep these facilities open. This is an ill conceived plan."
The Decatur Adult Transitional Center has an operating budget of more than $2 million according to state estimates released this Spring. 22 people are employed there with more than 100 inmates housed at the facility located at 2175 E. Pershing Road.
Lawmakers had provided funding to keep the facilities open. State Treasurer Dan Rutherford criticized Governor Quinn's plan. "The idea of the Governor closing these additional facilities, I believe, is a dramatic concern and is a public safety issue" Rutherford said.
The one page memo indicates all of the facilities targeted by Quinn will be closed by August 31st.