Judge blocks Ill. Inmate transfers

Aug. 9, 2012 at 12:29 PM
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TAMMS, Ill., Aug. 9 (UPI) -- A judge has blocked the transfer of inmates at the supermax prison in Tamm, Ill., and other state prisons slated for closure by Gov. Pat Quinn.

The Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat reported Circuit Judge Charles C. Cavaness Wednesday froze the prisoner transfers at least until lawyers for the guards' union and the governor's office meet with an arbitrator. That meeting is tentatively set for next week, the newspaper said.

The prison workers' union opposes the prison closures and is seeking an injunction, contending that moving inmates out of the Tamms prison would result in more violence throughout the state's 45,000-inmate prison system.

"We are very pleased that the Quinn administration's reckless reshuffling of inmates around the state has been halted," AFSCME President Henry Bayer said in a written statement. "Governor Quinn's push to close these facilities has triggered rising violence among inmates and against employees."

Stacey Solano, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Corrections, disputed the union's position.

"The facts are clear: Assaults on staff are down this year as are the number of days facilities have spent on lockdown," she said in a written statement that accompanied a News-Democrat request for figures about assaults on guards.

The next court hearing on the matter is set for Aug. 17.

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