I worked at one of Illinois’ correctional centers for over twenty-five years. The institution is nearly eighty years old, cockroach infested, racoons in the cellhouse attics.
Sometimes there was hot water. Sometimes not.
One time I was about to make a hall check and an outdated flourescent light fixture dropped twelve feet from the ceiling and crashed to the floor.
I saw worms in the shower drain in one building.
The concrete fire escape stairs were crumbling.
I pushed the lamp test button on the cellhouse control panel to check the control panel lights and it short circuited and opened six cell doors that were on deadlock. I sat with the locksmith at lunch and for thirty minutes he complained that the main door locks on the cell houses were obsolete and almost impossible to fix.
A safety and sanitation lieutenant told me the institution would require 98 million dollars to bring up to code. A fellow officer was driving an inmate to a doctors appointment and the axel broke on the vehicle.
Inmates with severe psychiatric problems who depend on regular treatment and monitoring of their medications are regularly released and are dependent on public health services which are being done away with.
I could go on.
– Claudette Thomas Radke