Lawsuit filed against prisons closing

By WEEK Producer

August 2, 2012 Updated Aug 2, 2012 at 9:55 PM CDT

ILLINOIS -- The state's largest employees union filed a lawsuit Thursday to halt the closure of prisons across the state, including those in Dwight and Tamms.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal employees filed the suit in Alexander County Thursday, arguing closures would worsen overcrowding, creating a safety risk for prison workers.

Governor Pat Quinn is looking to close the prisons to save the state money.

Lawmakers say they provided enough money in the budget to keep the facilities open and a legislative oversight commission opposes the closures.

In the suit, AFSCME argues there is a threat to employee safety caused by "rushed transfer" of inmates to other prisons not equipped to support them.

The union also disuses the nature of Tamms inmates as it is the state's only closed maximum security prison.

The suit says employees are documenting rising tensions among inmates, increased gang activity and recovered weapons and more assaults on staff.

A hearing on the matter has not been set.