Ruling: Ill. prisons may close; issue not settled
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration and the union representing correctional workers filed dueling court pleas Monday over a ruling allowing the state to proceed with prison closures, actions that promise to prolong the struggle over whether penitentiaries can shut their doors to save money while keeping a crowded penal system safe.
The administration sought permission to proceed with closures in a Cook County courtroom while at the other end of the state, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees asked an Alexander County judge not to dismiss a prohibition on shutdowns he ordered earlier this month.
The legal bustle was ignited following an independent arbitrator’s weekend ruling that Quinn had followed the rules in negotiating impact of closures on AFSCME members. Arbitrator Steven Bierig also decreed that shuttering the high-security Tamms prison and the maximum-security women’s lockup in Dwight would “not create any greater danger” than already exists in the prison system.
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