State Treasurer Dan Rutherford says past attempts to close prisons and other big state institutions have been haphazard. He says this has been going on for years, back at least to the administrations of former governors Ryan and Blagojevich. But it's still happening, as with this year's closure of the women's prison in Dwight.
"Debate whether it should close or not. But now what do you do? Are you going to sell it? Are you going to develop it? Nobody knows. That's the problem."
The same goes for the so-called supermax prison in Tamms, which Gov. Pat Quinn closed on account of its relatively small but expensive population. It, too, is sitting empty, with an uncertain future.
Rutherford has pitched this idea before, most recently last year. He says the state ought to develop a long-term plan for all its facilities, whether it'll keep them running as they are, re-purpose them, or close them altogether.