A group that has been raising awareness about the conditions at Tamms Supermax prison is applauding the governor’s call for the prison’s closure and calling on the union that represents workers there to join in the cause. Members of Tamms Year Ten are calling on the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees to support the closure of Tamms, in light of the conditions in which the prisoners are kept there.
“We think it’s a very sad turn of events that AFSCME has chosen to support this prison with its tortuous conditions,” said Stephen Eisenman, a professor at Northwestern University and a Member of Tamms Year Ten. Tamm Year Ten members marched from the governor’s Chicago office to the AFSCME Council 31 headquarters to draw attention to the issue. AFSCME supports keeping the facility open as those who work there are AFSCME members. The march took place on the 44th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis. Before his death, King collaborated with AFSCME president Jerry Wurth on a campaign for sanitation workers’ rights. The governor wants to close the facility and transfer the 186 prisoners to other facilities such as Pontiac Prison. The closure would save the state $26.3 million annually, the governor’s office says. Tamms Year Ten recognizes the closure would mean a loss of jobs and is encouraging the governor to look at ways to bring other jobs and economic opportunities to that area of the state.