An Illinois congressman is joining the call to close Tamms supermax prison. U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Chicago) says he backs the governor’s decision to close Tamms. He says the money spent there is better used elsewhere. “Budgets are the real measure of our public priorities,” Davis said. “So spending more than $26 million a year to keep 175 men locked in solitary confinement at Tamms, when we don’t have enough money to pay our teachers, that to me is a misplaced priority.”
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Tamms was to have closed at the end of August, but a lawsuit filed by the union representing prison guards and other state workers there has stalled the closure process. An evidentiary hearing has been going on in Alexander County to look at the potential of overcrowding in the prison system should Tamms close. The American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees says overcrowding would put their union members at risk.
Davis says he understands the flack the governor is getting from the union and Downstate lawmakers who want to see the prison stay open, but he says the people are behind him. “I suspect that the governor gets a bit of flack, but you know when the flack comes, the people in the community need to be there to protect those that would protect them,” Davis said.