Illinois Governor Seeks to Close States Only SuperMax

This article originally appeared in Truthout.

This display of the men in Tamms was originally designed by the art group CAFF for a Peace Fest held in the Roseland neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. Since then, Tamms Year Ten has attached information about the men, including excerpts from their letters, their poetry, their photo requests, and their magazine requests. The display also marks who is “NOW FREE” from prison, who “NEEDS PENPAL” and who has died at Tamms. (Photo: Lenny Gilmore)

The only supermax facility in Illinois, meaning it is the only prison built to keep the majority of its prisoners in isolation, Tamms prison was consigned for closure by the state’s governor in July.

But the battle between former prisoners, the families of those hurt by conditions at Tamms, anti-torture advocates, the union determined to keep its jobs and the state legislature struggling to contain costs continues to rage.

Here’s the link to Truthout’s coverage:

http://truth-out.org/news/item/10898-fight-over-closing-of-illinois-supermax-ends-14-years-of-prisoners-silence-in-solitary-confinement

A former inmate, Brian Nelson, described the feeling of being in Tamms: “The doors are like a rust-red color with thousands of perforated holes. And you look outside, and you don’t see nothing but a gray wall. My biggest fear is that this is all happening in my head, and I am going to wake up and I’m in that cell. And that scares the s— out of me.”

A man in Tamms made this drawing and others like it to communicate his despair from being in Tamms since 1998. (Image: Bear Cub)

All Images courtesy of Truthout. To read the rest of this article, please click here:

http://truth-out.org/news/item/10898-fight-over-closing-of-illinois-supermax-ends-14-years-of-prisoners-silence-in-solitary-confinement

 

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