To Tamms, prison closure means pain and betrayal
The source of hundreds of well-paying jobs, the maximum-security prison on the outskirts of tiny Tamms has been a saving grace for Alexander County on Illinois’ southern tip. The county’s 11 percent unemployment rate was the state’s highest as of May.
Little wonder there’s disgust in the area about Gov. Pat Quinn’s decision to mothball the state’s only supermax facility, along with a women’s lockup at Dwight in north central Illinois, even though lawmakers approved money to maintain both sites and the jobs they brought those communities.
Despite Quinn’s proposal to keep the 14-year-old facility open by selling it to the federal government, the pending closure has fostered a feeling of betrayal among many in Alexander County, one of just four counties that voted for Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, when he narrowly won office two years ago. And it once again has fanned the perception that Quinn and other Chicago power brokers don’t care much about folks outside the Windy City.
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