The governor says public safety remains his top priority when it comes to consolidating prison populations as the state looks to shut down prisons. Gov. Pat Quinn says the Department of Corrections will be able to accommodate prisoners from Tamms supermax facility and the maximum security prison in Dwight.
But according to the union that represents the guards, Illinois prisons are dangerously overcrowded. The most recent Department of Corrections report shows 48,620 inmates crammed into space designed for 33,704. The department projects that the prison population will drop by 2,746 in the next budget year.
While current Department of Corrections data show a 2.3 percent increase in the prison population over 2010 levels, the DOC says there was a 1.5 percent decrease of prisoners in the past five months.
“The maximum security prisoners will be sent to our maximum security facility with adequate space at Pontiac,” Quinn said. “We are, I think, going to be able to carry this out with public safety at all times as our top priority.”