‘Supermax’ era ends as last inmates leave
SPRINGFIELD (AP) – One of the more contentious episodes in the history of Illinois prisons ended Friday as the last inmates in the “supermax” lockup in Tamms were moved out and Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration prepares to shut it down.
The final five inmates of the high-security home for the “worst of the worst” were shipped to the Pontiac Correctional Center, a prison spokeswoman said. An adjoining minimum-security work camp packed its last four dozen residents off to Sheridan Correctional Center in north-central Illinois.
The departures mark the end of a nearly 15-year experiment with the super maximum-security prison, which advocates continue to believe the state needs – particularly during a time of record inmate population. But opponents contend the prison’s practice of near-total isolation is inhumane and contributes to deteriorating mental health among its convicts.
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