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Tamms to close by end of next week

Dec 27, 2012 -- 9:59am


Southeast Missourian

During the past week at Tamms Correctional Center twenty-five of the so-called "worst of the worst" offenders were the first to leave Dec. 20, and the same number followed Friday. Saturday saw another 40 prisoners brought out, some one-by-one, they are considered so dangerous. Corrections officer Sidney Miller has watched the exodus of Tamms prison take place in increments. By Monday, 124 more had been transported the roughly 300 miles north to Pontiac Correctional Center, as Illinois officials have quickly made good on Gov. Pat Quinn's promise to close several correctional centers to rein in spending. By Monday, just 12 inmates remained at the supermax prison and another 48 in the prison's minimum-security unit. Miller has worked at the prison since 2007 says employees are either out work or must commute great distances to keep their jobs. Miller of Olive Branch, Ill. now must drive three hours a day to get to his new job at Menard Correctional Center in Chester, Ill.  Quinn ordered the transfers after an Alexander County judge Dec. 19 lifted the injunction that was blocking the closure of the Tamms prison and six other Illinois correctional centers. The Illinois Department of Corrections anticipates that the last day of operations at Tamms will be Jan. 4, said department spokeswoman Stacey Solano. The remaining inmates will be moved between now and then. More than 900 staffers statewide have been offered other vacancies within the agency. About 100 chose to be laid off rather than take those positions.

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