Some of the Republican candidates for governor are critical of the recent closure of state facilities. In the last decade, the state has closed adult and juvenile prisons, centers for the developmentally disabled, mental health centers and human services offices. The two that bother State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) the most were the Tamms super-max prison and the Murray Developmental Center in Centralia.
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“I don’t agree with closing the Tamms Correctional Center. I was there when we designed Tamms as a safety valve to keep the hardened gang members from being able to harm the correctional guards who work in the other penitentiaries in the state of Illinois, and I disagree with closing the Murray Center,” he said. Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) calls the Murray closing, still in process, an attack on Downstate Illinois. He says if he’s governor, he would re-open Murray and Tamms.
Treasurer Dan Rutherford says facilities were closed without a plan. He says if, for example, Stateville is out of date for use as a maximum security prison, the Department of Corrections could use it for geriatric inmates. He was rankled when then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich threatened to close the Pontiac and Dwight prisons. Stateville, located in Crest Hill, and Pontiac, are still open. Dwight closed last year.