Posts Tagged ‘prison emergency’

Anybody who looks at the performance of private prisons can see that they end up costing us more, harm more people, fail to rehabilitate, and should not be used.

“…Sally Yates, then the deputy attorney general, said in a memo that research had found private prisons “simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources” and “do not save substantially on costs” either. Essential government education and training programs for prisoners “have proved difficult to replicate and outsource” in the private sector, she said…”

Inmates from an IL prison load sandbags onto a truck Sunday, May 1, 2011,

 View 200 other photos from Midwest flood prevention efforts here.

 Inmates Help With Flood Relief Efforts

“Our staff, facilities and the inmate work crews have been out on the front lines doing clean up and protecting communities from flood waters,” said acting Illinois Department of Corrections Director S.A. Godinez in a statement issued Monday.
Inmate crews have filled more than 468,000 sandbags and worked 30,000 hours since April 24, according to the Illinois Depart-ment of Corrections. Prisoners traveled from Tamms, Menard and Vienna correctional centers; Du Quoin and Dixon Springs boot camps; and Hardin County Work Camp. They have assisted areas in Alexander, Pulaski, Union, Jackson, Massac, Pope, Hardin, Gallatin and White counties.
Crews also have been helping with storm cleanup and providing laundry service for the Illinois National Guard.”


Emergency workers, citizens, utility company personnel, and many others have all been working around the clock for weeks in a desperate effort to prevent the massive river flooding which now extends from counties in southern Illinois throughout the Mississippi River basin states down to the Gulf of Mexico. Flooding on this scale is unprecedented, and entire communities are in danger of loss of life and property.

Few are aware that from the very start of this emergency crisis,  many inmates in Illinois state prisons and prisons throughout the affected areas have also been caught up and affected by this crisis. With many state prisons already short-staffed and access to them restricted by flooded roads, many of the prisons in southern Illinois have been placed on extended periods of lockdown restricting inmate movement. Yard hours and outside recreation activities have been suspended for most during this time.

Rather than complaining about this situation and the hardships they are enduring, prison inmates have from the outset stepped forward and volunteered their help to the relief effort by helping directly with sandbagging duties and other relief activities such as clearing debris.  Working outside in dry and wet weather on a daily basis, inmates have been working in two-hour shifts for some times 6 to 8 hours a day, filling sandbags and loading them into truck-after-truck pulling up into prison grounds.

Prison inmates are working without reward on this effort, but many of them have friends and family throughout the region. While they cannot be there to assist their loved ones, state prison inmates have shown their concern by doing what they can to help out everyone affected by the threat of flooding. State prisoners deserve all the recognition they can get for their efforts.

Too many times, prisoners are lambasted in the media and criticize by the public for being uncaring troublemakers.  Public officials often manipulate the public’s perception of inmates in order to whip up public frenzy over “crime”. This was particularly the case during the last election in the state of Illinois, when politicians and the media significantly mischaracterized criminals to such an extent that IL Gov. Pat Quinn was pressured into ending all early release prison programs and suspending the awarding of any additional Meritorious Good Time credits (MGT) to all Illinois state prisoners.  MGT still remains suspended, and while our state politicians have forgotten about their role in creating this mess in the first place, the families of thousands of inmates who would otherwise be now released from prison, remain stuck in hardship as a result.

So, it is only fair to applaud the hard work and dedication shown throughout our state prison facilities by our prison inmates who are laboring almost continuously to help out the state in this great time of need. The public needs to understand that regardless of their individual infractions, prisoners cannot be stereotyped. There are many individuals in state prisons who show responsibility and who are also willing to help out others in need without the incentive of any compensation. The public needs to perceive this and, likewise show some support for prisoners when they in turn need our understanding.

Editor’s Note: You can show appreciation for the work of these inmates in a way that will matter by contacting IL Governor Pat Quinn (here), Lt. Governor Sheila Simon (here) or your state legislator (here) and sending them an email mentioning that IL prison inmates should receive recognition and credit for the help they have provided to the state during this flood crisis.

Last line of defence: Young and old rush to fill sandbags as four MILLION people face record-breaking floods sweeping the Mississippi delta

By Daily Mail ReporterLast updated at 12:36 AM on 8th May 2011

May 2011 has only just begun, but it’s already shaping up to be a wetter-than-normal one. Southern Illinois rainfall in May is generally 4.82 inches, and the area has already received it’s average for the month. In fact, the first two days of the month topped the monthly average for Southern Illinois. 19 Southern Illinois counties have been declared disaster areas after the recent flooding that, this weekend reaches to threaten the rest of the Mississippi river states. It is estimated that up to 2,000 individuals are effected by the flooding in Illinois alone.

As floodwaters recede, region begins cleanup

The, May 7, 2011

Record Mississippi River Flooding Sparks Call for Comprehensive Management

Published on May 7, 2011 – 6:53:43 AM “…After Iowans suffered two 500 year floods in the past 18 years, it is clear that focusing flood protection on stronger levees and flood walls is not enough,” said Susan Heathcote, Water Program Director at Iowa Environmental Council. “Long term development planning along rivers must include moving people and structures out of harm’s way and allowing wetland and floodplain areas to perform their natural function—to absorb and slow the river’s flow during spring floods”…Wetlands filter pollutants, absorb excess rainwater and reduce flooding by acting as a giant sponge. Flooding in 1993 caused an estimated $16 billion in damages. Scientists estimate that returning some lands in the Upper Mississippi River basin to their original form—wetlands—would significantly reduce future flooding..”

By Michele Steinbacher

PONTIAC — State prison officials remained quiet Friday about why a hazardous-materials team from Bloomington was called to Pontiac Correctional Center.

“It’s an ongoing investigation,” said Sharyn Elman, a Chicago-based Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman. She declined further comment other than reiterating what she’d said Thursday, including that no one was injured and “the safety of our staff and inmates, and the public, is paramount.”

The Pantagraph will seek further information by filing a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency did not receive any report on the incident, so whatever occurred likely didn’t reach the level of required reporting, according to Maggie Carson, IEPA spokeswoman.

The Pontiac Fire Department, assisted by Bloomington Fire Department’s hazardous-materials response team, spent two hours at the 1,650-inmate, maximum-security men’s prison Thursday afternoon.

A decontamination tent was set up in the parking lot near the main gate at Vermillion and Lincoln streets during the incident.

Officials declined to say where on the prison grounds the incident occurred.

Firefighters referred all questions to the DOC.

via Prison officials silent about Pontiac incident.