By: Katie Jones
They're called the worst of the worst. Murderers, rapists and some of the most dangerous criminals in Illinois, all housed at Tamms Correctional Center. But if Governor Pat Quinn has his way, that prison will shut it's doors Governor Quinn announced the closures of several state correctional facilities earlier this year in an effort to slash spending but after countless pleas by AFSCME A judge decided to halt inmate transfers last week so the union could have a say in the process.
" I am severely Mentally ill, I am a Sociopath I have skinned someone while they were alive because he annoyed me," Former EMCC inmate Doss Kuykendall wrote in a letter of testimony.
Disturbing confessions from Doss Kuykendall's past. An inmate who escaped from the minimum security East Moline correctional center, last October while serving time for burglary.
"He escaped our facility which tells you he had no business at East Moline in the first place" AFSCME Local 46 president Gregg Johnson said.
Kuykendall was taken to Tamms after his capture. He wrote the letter as a testimonial read in a state hearing about the prison closing. Kuykendall has since been moved to Pontiac maximum security prison. A kind of musical chairs for inmates, Johnson said shouldn't happen.
"I think it really puts a face on what I've been saying for months that the DOC is not properly screening inmates when they're transferring them from facility to facility," Johnson said.
Different inmate similar story. "I don't trust myself anymore and my thoughts alone don't make me trust myself I need to be in Tamms for the safety of others and safety of myself from others," This quote from a letter written by John Spires, a former Tamms inmate convicted of sexually assaulting a Dixon prison worker for more than 24 hours straight.
Both of these QCA convicts, Kuykendall and Spires, begging to keep Tamms open for the sake of inmates, employees and the entire community.
"I think Kuykendall actually put it best at the end of his letter, he said keep in mind since they've opened Tamms there have been zero staff murders in the DOC, he said five year from now can anyone say that's going to be the same if you close Tamms? The answer is no," Johnson said.
But the DOC doesn't see it that way. A spokesperson wouldn't discuss mental health or medical information about inmates.
"Most inmates in the TAMMS CMAX unit will be transferred to Pontiac or Menard Correctional Centers. Both Facilities are maximum security prisons, have housed death row inmates and are fully capable of housing these offenders." Chief Public Information Officer from the Illinois Department of Corrections Stacey Solano said.
The DOC says Tamms is less than half full and keeping it open would be a waste of tax- payers dollars. But Johnson said they're dollars well spent and even though no maximum security inmates will be brought to East Moline, he says it's a domino effect and we'll all suffer.
"Without the death penalty, Tamms is the only place we have to isolate and punish people doing natural life for creating these in–humanities to other people." Johnson said.
A judge is expected to decide Wednesday if Governor Quinn can start transferring inmates again. He plans to close Tamms on August 31st.