Earlier this summer, a federal judge penned a scathing decision questioning some of the fundamental practices employed at Illinois' infamous Tamms Correctional Center. Most practically, the judge ordered that the Illinois Department of Correction must give inmates at the supermax institution greater due process rights. Here's how we described the ruling in July:
Analyzing a lawsuit filed in 2000 on behalf of dozens of inmates at Illinois' only "supermax" prison, U.S. District Court Judge G. Patrick Murphy decreed that the Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC) must offer a prisoner the option to challenge his transfer into the facility (which uses solitary confinement extensively) during a formal review hearing. Each inmate must be given notice of the hearing 48 hours in advance and all inmates currently in custody there will be first in line to participate.
This morning, the award-winning journalist George Pawlaczyk reported for the Belleville News-Democrat that the state would challenge Murphy's ruling. This is a blow for criminal justice reformers, who had hoped DOC would abide by the decision specifically because it did not differ greatly from one of the proposals included in former director Michael Randle's 10-point reform plan. And since the appeal could take two years, no firm policy will be put into place for some time.