Gov. Pat Quinn's budget speech today will call for the closure of Tamms
Supermax Prison, a women's prison in Dwight, and 14 additional state facilities, including two juvenile prisons, six halfway houses, four mental health facilities, and two institutions for the developmentally disabled. The array of criminal justice and public health center closings arguably do not save that much money, about $100 million of a 2012 total budget Quinn says will cost the state $33.8 billion.
But the prison closings are about more than cost savings. Groups around the state applaud the governor for closing Tamms, notorious for its especially harsh incarceration conditions. At the same time, the closings could lead to overcrowding in remaining state prisons.
The health facility closings, however, are set to spark much controversy and protest from both state workers and residents who are tired of seeing the social service safety net continue to fray, especially during such rough economic times.
UPDATE 1 (12:23 p.m.): In Quinn's budget address, the governor called for the closing and consolidation of 59 state facilities. Check back with Progress Illinois for more on this developing story.