Governor Pat Quinn's administration has agreed to stop moving inmates out of prisons Quinn plans to close, for now. AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, says the agreement is an important first step. Spokesman Anders Lindall says Governor Quinn's administration has been "reckless" in its rush to move troubled inmates from the supermax prison at Tamms. He says dangerous prisoners were sent to facilities that're not ready to handle them:
"That poses a threat to the safety of prison employees, to the safety of orderly offenders who might be at risk from violent inmates. It poses a risk, ultimately, to the public safety."
Of course, it also poses a risk to the jobs of hundreds of members of the state's largest public employee union. The state and union are to meet with an arbitrator next week on the issue of safety related to the closures, but the union ultimately would prefer to stop the closings altogether. And on that score, it's not clear AFSCME can prevail. Quinn says he's committed to closing the prisons, and although lawmakers left money in the budget to keep them open, Quinn used his veto power to turn it down.
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