ILLINOIS: Inching ever closer to a full-blown police state
Every week it’s something new.
The ongoing destruction of our rights as taxpayers, rights to freely move about the country, rights to be secure in our homes, possessions and effects, and above all, the right to know what our government is doing with our tax dollars, continues in this country, with the state of Illinois leading the way.
Legislation to remove one of these basic rights from us seems to be passed every week in Springfield (aka Chicago Southern Command). For example, last month it was filming/photographing police in the line of duty, disguised as an attempt to crack down on “distracted driving” aka cell phone use.
Now we have an edict, handed down from our weenie-in-chief (governor Pat Quinn), prohibiting all media from prisons…unless, of course, a journalist gets put into one for one of Illinois’ various DOC-punishable crimes).
According to a report in the Southern Illinoisan this morning, what was once something at Quinn’s (and previous administration) and DOC’s discretion to allow—media visiting state prisons so that they may see for themselves the conditions Illinois’ inmates (detainees) are living under—has now been wholesale prohibited. Prisons are now closed to all media….because of “security concerns.”
“I think that’s a fundamental policy that we will always follow,” Quinn said, citing unspecified security concerns voiced by top prison officials.
The governor, who often touts that his administration is “transparent,” issued his decision in the wake of reports by WBEZ radio in Chicago that its reporters had been turned down numerous times in their attempts to confirm allegations of horrendous living conditions at the overcrowded, minimum-security facilities in Vienna and Vandalia.
The Associated Press also reported Friday that the administration declined an Aug. 1 request to visit Pontiac’s segregation unit, where dangerous inmates will move when high-security Tamms prison closes Aug. 31.
“We’re not going to have tours of Illinois prisons. I don’t believe in that,” Quinn said. “Security comes first. It isn’t a country club. I think prisons are there to incarcerate criminals. They are not there to be visited and looked at.”
The decision comes as the Illinois Department of Corrections is attempting to house more than 48,000 inmates in a system built to handle about 33,000 prisoners. The John Howard Association, a Chicago-based prison watchdog organization, has documented that prisoners are living in squalid conditions at Vienna and Vandalia.
This comes on the heels of Quinn having a fit over information being “leaked” from prison employees about shipping “dangerous” Tamms inmates (in deep southern Illinois) to other facilities around the state upon closure of Tamms. “Mr. Transparency-in-government” now not only wants to go after the employees who leaked the info, but has now effectively “shut down” any possible opportunity for those of us in the media to find out if there was any basis to the concerns in the leak to begin with.
Does anyone remember the attempt Rod Blagojevich made in 2004 to “shut down” any and all “leaks” from the Illinois State Police regarding just about anything they were doing? This came on the heels of Milorad (Rod’s real name) abusing the privilege he had of having the state police at his disposal, and he thought he was doing a nifty little thing. All that did, however, was make certain troopers more eager to get the word out about what was REALLY going on within that agency…and many of them came right straight to US, on the heels of that “edict” laid out by Larry Trent at the time, and gave us copious amounts of information on how the agency was one of the most wasteful and arrogant in the state. We hear that just about drove Rod to distraction.
So here we have the prison edict. A bad, deal, because Illinois’ prison population is one of the highest in the country….and of course, America’s prison population is the highest in the WORLD, per capita.
What can we do? Short of dump Quinn at the next available opportunity (2014), we need to start demanding of our legislators to OPEN our government to we the people. WE fund it. WE should have the right, through journalists, to inspect it. So WE should be on the forefront, calling, writing, getting active. Your legislators are available through internet and phone book. Take action. Or this creeping subversion of our civil rights will soon be taking over something YOU will be DIRECTLY affected by, next.
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