Move off death row can be rocky, ex-inmates say – Illinois | State & regional –

Posted: March 12, 2011 by scaryhouse in Uncategorized

By KAREN HAWKINS – Associated Press

CHICAGO — The 15 death row inmates who have had their sentences changed to life in prison could find their living conditions much harder without the privacy and celebrity afforded by death row, former prisoners and the head of a watchdog group said Thursday.

Gov. Pat Quinn commuted the sentences of the 15 inmates Wednesday after signing legislation to abolish the death penalty in Illinois. The men will now serve life in prison with no hope of parole.

Unlike most prisoners, death row inmates have cells to themselves. While the isolation and constant supervision they experience can be “torture,” the 23 hours a day they spend inside provides security and privacy, said John Maki, executive director of the John Howard Association, a prison watchdog group in Illinois. The transition into the general population can be rocky.

“In terms of prison life, it gets a little worse for them,” Maki said.

It’s not clear what will happen to the men. Officially, death row doesn’t end until July 1. Its former members could be moved into the general prison population, put into segregation or placed in protective custody, prison reform advocates said. The corrections department said plans for the inmates are still under review.

via Move off death row can be rocky, ex-inmates say – Illinois | State & regional –

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