By The Associated Press
SPRINGFIELD - Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says two major prisons and other state facilities will be closed within weeks after a judge's order.
An Alexander County judge on Wednesday dissolved an injunction stopping the closures. The Illinois Supreme Court last week ordered that the injunction be lifted.
Quinn says shuttering the high-security Tamms prison, the women's lockup in Dwight and others makes taxpayers "the real winners today.'' He says the state can't afford the facilities in a budget crisis and that many are underutilized.
A lawsuit by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees delayed the closures. An AFSCME spokesman said Wednesday night that the closures make the remaining prisons "more dangerous for employees, inmates and the public.''
A union official says the short, tumultuous tenure of the Tamms "supermax'' prison will end Jan. 4. Mike Stout is business manager for ISEA-Laborers' Local 2002. He says administration officials gave him the closure deadline Wednesday and he expects members to move to new facilities on Jan. 7.
The union represents about 300 corrections employees.
Tamms opened in 1998. Critics have denounced its isolation practices.
Stout says there's no firm closing date for Dwight prison or the Joliet youth center. The Murphysboro youth center will be shuttered Jan. 4 but its residents already moved.