SPRINGFIELD — Memos distributed to state employees Tuesday say Gov. Pat Quinn has made a “final decision” to close prisons in Dwight and Tamms, a youth facility in Murphysboro and inmate transition centers in Carbondale and Decatur.

The one-page letter distributed to workers at the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Department of Juvenile Justice say the facilities will be shuttered by Aug. 31.

Speaking Tuesday night, Dwight Mayor Bill Wilkey said the closures appear to target downstate facilities.

“As you can see, there’s no Chicago facilities that are in that (announcement),” Wilkey said. “This is the second year in a row (Quinn) has come out and chopped up Southern Illinois facilities while leaving Chicago facilities alone.”

Wilkey said the cost of transferring prisoners and the displacement of important services at the Dwight facility make the closure a questionable move from a money-saving standpoint.

“We’ve got the only dialysis unit, mental health unit,” Wilkey said. “There’s so many things that these women need. We want to get them back into society, and the way (Quinn’s) going about it, he’s just going to create a bigger mess of this.”

It was not clear Tuesday whether Quinn also would go forward with closing other state facilities, including centers for developmentally disabled Illinoisans in Centralia and Jacksonville.

The governor announced his plans to close the facilities in February, saying they would save $88 million during tough budget times.

But lawmakers in May approved a spending plan that includes money to keep the facilities operating. Quinn has not yet signed the budget. A spokeswoman for his budget office would only describe the contents of the memos as “accurate.”

Democrats and Republicans slammed Quinn Tuesday for his apparent decision to ignore the legislative budget plan and potentially make an overcrowded prison system even more overcrowded.

“To say that I am disappointed would be an understatement,” said state Sen. Dave Luechtefeld, R-Okawville. “Multiple times we have asked the governor about his long-term plans for corrections, and each time the administration responds with ineptness and a lack of coherent thoughts.”

State Sen. Shane Cultra, R-Onarga, called the move to close Dwight “reckless.”

“They are clearly not thinking about the effect this decision will have on the local community as well as the safety impacts on our correctional system,” Cultra said in a statement.

State Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, said the governor is “out of touch” when it comes to the need for Tamms, which is Illinois’ only super-maximum security prison designed to house inmates who pose a danger to other prisoners and guards.

“The governor’s plan is not a responsible way to address the state’s financial problems, which is why I proposed a plan where the prison could be retooled to become more of a standard prison,” Phelps said in a statement. “This would save much needed jobs and help to address the overcrowding within our state’s prisons. I believe that Governor Quinn does not know the huge mistake he is making.”

State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, who, as a state senator fought to keep Pontiac Correctional Center open, also weighed in Tuesday.

“Closing prisons will only exacerbate the overcrowding we face in Illinois with our prison population. Overcrowded prisons pose a real danger to employees and local communities,” said the Chenoa Republican.

Under Quinn’s original closure plan, more than 2,300 state employees could lose their positions. However, some of them may be able to move into existing vacancies at nearby prisons and youth centers.

More from pantagraph.com

(24) comments


I voted for Brady and I will again no matter what AFSCME tells me


I'd like to see Brady and Rutherford running this state


The same Brady who couldn't manage his own business properly?


which Brady do you want - the one that broke his family business or the one that likes to spend as much money as he can when it is not his?

Turner Joy

Dwight mayor Wilkey said "“This is the second year in a row (Quinn) has come out and chopped up Southern Illinois facilities while leaving Chicago facilities alone.”.
How many prisons are in Chicago? The IDOC web site lists (by my count) 51 facilities of which only 3 are in Chicago:; Crossroads Adult Transition Center, North Lawndale Adult Transition Center, and West Side Adult Transition Center.


How many state facilities are in Chicago? Not just prisons. Quinn is saving a nickel and spending a dime.


Quinn now this is a real chicago guy its time he going back to the windy city . All the wind coming out of guy he's right at home as for the other guy's no way. I just one time want to see women or man that will have open door to the people stop all money that they spend on there stuff. I think that this paper need's to put all there spending in the paper so we can see it all .maybe they read all the stuff that we write and they will do it now that will be good thing


Rutherford cloundn't run nothing.Quinn is a Manigan child and won't go against him.Quinn can hang out with his low life friends in Chicago amy Dan will join him.Illinois is the most messed up state in the USA..we should have a RECALL VOTE ,I bet Quinn would be out.When was the last time the books where check.


...actually you should learn English.


oh well i voted for quinn and wish i hadnt


i like how the mayor of Dwight has suddenly become a state prison expert

and of course whining about how the governor doesn't close the only 3 facilities in chicago-land that serve the majority of the state's people


The mayor of Dwight is more of an expert than Quinn is. At least the mayor has done his homework. More than I can say for Quinn. And he's right about not touching facilities north of I-80. On more than one occassion Quinn has made derogatory comments about people in central and southern IL. He's supposed to be the governor of IL not Chicago.


Dan Rutherford for Governor !!!!!!


Rutherford will never be Governor. Never


LOL Are you psychic ?

Comment deleted.

Yes I did. Just shows he or she's intellect.


Wow another intellegent Illinois Governor. I think the citizens of Illinois could run the state better than this clown and all the other clowns we have had as our Governor. He must be cutting his budget blind folded or picking the places out of a hat who will be cut. Quinn needs to be cut out of his job. And the state capital is in Springfield not Chicago. or is it the other way around.


This man needs to go right along with Rod Man!!!! I am no rocket scientist but apparently it doesn't take run to run this State!!!!! You cut 2300 jobs to save money, but now how much unemployment and welfare is the State going to be handing out??? You cut presicription help, but now even more people will need help! And people are right. It's all about Chicago, so why doesn't Chicago just become it's own State and take back all the crooks they have sent to Springfield?


”he [President Obama] wants another stimulus, he wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more fireman, more policeman, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”

- Mittins Romney


Rutherford for Governor? Not in this lifetime. All he does is get on television or radio shows and goes to lunches and dinners. The Treasurer's office is not needed and you could say the same for the Comptroller. Anyway, wasn't Rutherford around the last several years to be a part of this mess. Ya I know the Democrats were running things, but wasn't Rutherford around with Ryan when spending got way out of hand? Besides, they are all to blame, not just one side over the other. If we do not enact term limits in this state, we will always have these issues. The ladies and gentlemen get to Springpatch and in a few years they just think of theirselves and not of their constituents. Now, back to the main issue. The closing of facilities is ridiculous but it was bound to happen sooner than later. In the governor's thinking, this should save millions, but in reality it won't, stay tuned. The state employees are the ones who will bare the brunt of the misgivings and misdeeds of our elected officials.


Rutherford fought very hard to keep Pontiac prison open. He was a key player in that and he made a lot of enemies in the political arena because of it. Rutherford was a representative when all the damage was done. One person alone cannot fight the Chicago machine and that's exactly what's going on here.


lets all jus give them what they want and sit at home and do nothin thats what they want out of all of u so y not jus give in and see where it gets em

Comment deleted.

Does that include you ? Sure would like to know where you get your information.


As far as I can recall, the following facilities have been closed "NORTH" of I 80: IYC Valley View, Joliet Correctional Center, Jessie Ma ATC, Joliet ATC, Thompson Correctional Center as well as Sheridan (closed and reopened). IYC Joliet and Westside ATC are currently on the chopping block. Does anyone have a list of SOUTH of I 80 closures?

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.