From the Southern Illinoisan:
THE SOUTHERN SPRINGFIELD BUREAU
SPRINGFIELD — A small group of inmates at Pontiac Correctional Center launched a hunger strike Monday, saying conditions are worse than when they resided at the now-closed super-maximum-security facility in Tamms.
The Chicago-based Uptown People’s Law Center said an estimated 10 prisoners are participating in the strike, which comes about a month after the inmates were transferred out of Tamms and into the older facility in Livingston County.
Key among their grievances is a lack of heat because of some of the retrofitting that was done in order to prepare Pontiac for the prisoners from Tamms. The prisoners are complaining that plexiglass panels installed on their cell doors block heat from entering their living areas, said Brian Nelson prison rights coordinator for the law center.
Gov. Pat Quinn closed Tamms in early January as part of a budget-cutting move. The prison had been built to house the state’s most dangerous prisoners in near-solitary confinement.
Nelson said the prisoners are upset that they don’t have televisions, radios, cleaning supplies, legal-sized envelopes and razors. In addition, he said they also are being forced to share nail clippers even though some men have illnesses.