Posts Tagged ‘AFSCME prisons’


 

Safety and conditions at IL prisons and overcrowding have been a very low priority to Governor Quinn, for the past several years now and things are coming to a head a lot faster than Quinn is moving to solve any of these problems.  Quinn has shown himself to be adept at squeezing agency budgets, but somehow his efforts seem to repeatedly fail with unforeseen consequences like what is happening with prison violence. AFSCME has been protesting facility closures and staff limitations for some time now, and it looks like the media may start to hold Quinn accountable for the fact that no one should be threatened with injury or death inside IL prisons: neither inmates, nor prison staff.

Inmates attack 3 Illinois prison staffers at Menard prison

“Two guards and a chaplain were injured Tuesday in an Illinois prison attack that union officials said involved up to 15 inmates, the latest in a series of violent incidents at the lockup and others in the state.

The violence over the past month led to one death last week at Menard Correctional Center, where the most recent assaults also happened. Union officials say the disturbances stem from Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s decision to close several prisons around the state to save money, a move they claim has put staffers at overcrowded prisons at greater risk…”

Unionized prison employees picket at Menard

“…Eddie Caumian, AFSCME 31 regional director, said rather than agree to a fair contract, the governor has instead chosen to close facilities leading to overcrowding and a lack of staff.

At the same time, the governor is seeking drastic cuts in pensions, wages and increases in employee contributions to health care coverage, Caumian said.

Menard, he said, is designed for 2,000 inmates but is housing around 3,700 and has fewer than 200 employees per shift. The latter number includes guards, clerical staff and other personnel. Caumian said recent violence is connected to the Tamms closing.

“Any time you cram this many people into a confined space and try to do it with as few staff as possible to help control that situation you are asking for trouble, so certainly no, I don’t think it is coincidental that we are seeing incidences of violence that are spiraling out of control as we continue to put more and more people into prisons that can’t hold them,” Caumian said…”