The ACLU of Illinois' very own communications and public policy director, Ed Yohnka, wrote an article for the Huffington Post about Governor Pat Quinn's decision to close Tamms Supermax Prison. The downstate correctional facility is known for its tactic of solitary confinement, holding prisoners in cells for extended periods of time - sometimes for up to ten years. The nature of solitary confinement is the reason why costs were so much higher per prisoner, as compared to other correctional facilities in Illinois. Despite the fact that closing Tamms will reduce costs to taxpayers, and eliminate this type of cruel punishment, some are voicing concern over the closing.
Since the announcement by Governor Quinn that Tamms would be shuttered under his plan, some have (predictably) raised concerns, suggesting that Illinois residents might not be safe if the facility is closed. No evidence is offered for this suggestion, only dark inferences of some pending threat. There is a reason that these voices offer no evidence: It does not exist. Indeed, there is evidence from other states across the nation that prisoners who are held in solitary confinement actually have a higher rate of recidivism than those held in the general population. In other words, Tamms -- like other supermax facilities -- simply has not added to our public safety.