Judge: Supermax inmates must have hearings

July 21, 2010 at 4:26 PM

CHICAGO, July 21 (UPI) -- Inmates transferred to the only supermax prison in Illinois must be given hearings where they can challenge the move, a federal judge has ruled.

The decision U.S. District Judge Patrick Murphy handed down Tuesday also applies to inmates currently being held at the Tamms Correctional Center, the Belleville News-Democrat reported. Murphy said inmates must be told why they are being sent to Tamms and given 48 hours' notice of their hearings.

At Tamms, all inmates spend 23 hours a day alone in their cells. The only exercise consists of an hour a day by themselves in a steel cage.

Alan S. Mills of the Uptown People's Law Center in Chicago, which filed a lawsuit on behalf of Tamms prisoners, called the ruling a "significant victory." The center argued inmates were denied their 14th Amendment right to due process.

"Everybody who has been sent there up until now, have had their constitutional rights violated and has a right to a hearing, a new hearing, to see whether or not they should have ever been sent there in the first place," Mills said.

The Illinois Department of Corrections had not said Wednesday whether it would appeal.

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