Tamms Correctional Center

Summary: It need not be this harsh

On Nov. 9 a group of John Howard Association board members, staff and volunteers conducted a monitoring tour of Tamms Correctional Center, the state’s highest security prison often referred to as Tamms Supermax. Tamms is a male prison located approximately 360 miles south and west of Chicago.

Nearly all states operate a supermax prison reserved for gang leaders or inmates who are extraordinarily disruptive and dangerous. Typically they include inmates who have attempted to kill staff or other inmates, have organized gangs to challenge prison management, or who have proven to be exceptionally destructive.

Although conditions vary widely at the nation’s supermax prisons, they are often characterized by years of solitary confinement, sensory deprivation, extremely aggressive security measures and long-term physical and social isolation of inmates. This is the case at Tamms.

Read JHA's 2011 report. (PDF)

Check out The Chicago Sun-Times' and The Belleville News Democrat's coverage of JHA's Tamms report.