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Crucial Action Alert to Support Closure of Tamms Supermax Prison

November 24, 2012

From our friends at Tamms Year Ten:

AFSCME and downstate legislators are attempting to put funding for Tamms back into the state budget via an override of the governor’s veto. They probably have the votes to do it.

We only have a few days to reach them as legislators are headed back into session on Tuesday. We need an outpouring of support to maintain Governor Quinn’s veto.

1) Contact your legislators today, ask them to VOTE NO and let us know what they say.
It just takes 2 minutes with this link!
We really, really need you. We are counting to see if we have enough votes against it.

2) Come to our Lobby Day to Close Prisons on Wednesday, November 28.
Details below.

We give thanks to each of you for giving your time, labor, resources and love to help people in isolation who you don’t even know. Please read below for excerpts from mail from Tamms. These letters remind us why we are doing this.

Tamms Year Ten



For those who want to understand this complicated funding tale, here’s a short timeline:
February 2012 — Governor Quinn announced his plan to close Tamms, Dwight, and youth prisons IYC Joliet and IYC Murphysboro.
May 2012 — House and Senate leadership chose to fully fund Tamms and all the other prisons in the budget bill (SB 2474).
June 2012 — Governor Quinn vetoed the funding for Tamms and the other prisons (SB2474). This was a line-item reduction veto.
November 2012 — During the veto session, downstate legislators and the guards’ union (AFSCME) will attempt to override Quinn’s veto of the funding. In other words, they want to restore money for these prisons. We will lobby to convince our legislators to stop this nonsense.


I AND MANY OTHERS here in Tamms are so grateful for your support. We are blessed to have people like you on our side. I and many others here are anticipating our eventual transfer to Pontiac….On a side note. I would like to bring to your attention the number of food superiors that are employed here in Tamms. There are 16 currently assigned that title. Why so many? No wonder the state of Illinois is in debt.

IN MY CURRENT SITUATION: I have been in hunger strike since October 14, 2012 and I’ve yet to be seen by medical staff. I can be dying due to Helath complications cause by starvation, but no one seems to give a care. Today on October 23, 2012 I was retaliated against for filing grievances and exercising my rights to partake in a hunger strike. I was moved to a unit where mentally ill inmates are housed. I was placed on a wing where every inmate on the wing have boxes and shields on their doors. Where the entire wing reeks of feces and uring. Inmates bang and yell all day and night. I have done absolutely nothing to warrant my placement on a wing like this…
The wing I am currently housed on (B5) is extremely disturbing. At this moment there’s an inmate who’s smearing feces all over himself and cell door. He’s yelling, banging and swearing at the Lt. Starkweather and another unknown c/o whose bringing me back in from the law library, it is now 10:29am.

Thank you very much for your time and hard work in helping the so-called helpless in our times of need. May God continue blessing your wonderful and caring heart.

I HOPE WHEN THIS letter reaches you that you are in the best of health….I came here on 8-9-2000 and I had insanity but been in Tamms made me insane….this not contact with another prisoner mess my mind up, cause since I been in solitude in Tamms, I had a lot of bizarre self-mitilation, multiple incidents requiring the use of therapeutic restraints. I take 5 time a day psychotropic medication and I see a mental health professional on a treatment plan every 2 weeks. I been on suicide watch a lot. When I got here on 8-9-2000 they had me on “Elevated Security Negative Unit” [this unit has more deprivation] for 5 years and been on elevated security made me start cutting myself cause I was not use to been real hard isolated like that, it made my mind snap….Over the years, I been to the outside hospital a few times cause I cut artery and the nurses could not stop the bleeding. I have the scars on my arms…

Everyday I am fighting with myself cause my mind keep telling me to cut myself and my mind tell me that’s the right thing to do. I been having a mental behavioral problem in Tamms for 12 years and when the mental health professionals do their evaluation on me, they say I do not fit the qualities to be on psychiatric unit cause I do not have a mental ill problem, I have a behavioral problem. The mental health professionals try to help me with my mental problem but I am way out there with this mental behavioral problem cause this cutting myself became a mental habit and when I see my own blood, I got a mental rush. This Tamms torture did my mind like this. When I was in a regular prison, I never cut myself….Right now I’m on the edge of the cliff and if the Governor Pat Quinn do not close this facility, I think I am going to fall off the cliff. Hope you will try to understand what Tamms did to me as a person.

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