One must start to wonder what’s going on at the Menard Correctional Center located downstate in Southern Illinois. There have been three murders to occur individually within the past two months. Two of the deaths occurred inside the Segregation Unit where inmates are housed for allegedly breaking prison rules and the third death was to a 64 year old man who allegedly had altercations with another inmate weeks before his February 25th death. Menard is dangerously overcrowded with lots of racial and street gang conflicts.
Housing two inmates in small, closet-size prison cells was never a smart choice!
But it shows just how inhumane the State of Illinois and prison officials are willing to go to not spend appropriate money toward reform and meaningful makeover of its prison system.
Inmates that are locked in segregation are allowed out of their cells eight hours a week, which is a combination of yard-time, hospital appointments, and library visits. One shower a week, and two one hour visits a month. Many that are placed in segregation in the State of Illinois have mental illness and were originally placed in segregation for minor prison rule violations, such as disobeying a direct order, walking too slow, inability to fill out appropriate paperwork when arriving at the prison they were assigned too, or because they were doing something strange which a Correctional officer found to be offensive.
The State of Illinois policy pertaining to double cells in Illinois prison segregation must be re-visited by Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn and Illinois Prison Director S.A. Godinez.
Often inmates who are placed in segregation and experience difficulties with a cellmate request a cell change. Guards often ignore the inmate’s request for a cell change, leaving a vulnerable person to be victimized because guards are understaffed and not able to make appropriate rounds on the wings where these inmates are housed. Prison guards are so ineffective today that each year in Illinois prisons in segregation units much as 100 inmates are raped by other inmates. According to guards at Stateville Correctional Center, they believe that over 100 inmates housed inside the Northern Classification Center yearly are raped inside the unit.
Illinois prisons have gone greatly neglected for decades. The conditions have disastrously decayed.
Menard is a prison that is known throughout the State as racist, less then thirty-five staff members are African American throughout the entire prison.
Lawrence Correctional Center which is located in Sumner, Illinois has six African American guards.
Human beings who are caged and treated under Slavery laws are forced to reside in these inhumane conditions day in and day out.
Continuing to double cell inmates that are housed inside segregation units is equal to additional murders and rapes toward weaker inmates. Three deaths at Menard prison cannot go down as ignored. These are our love one’s and friends that are placed into dangerous situations by the State of Illinois, who is responsible to protect them while they are housed inside of their prisons. The lllinois Department of Corrections has clearly shown within the past sixty days that it cannot maintain adequate security at the Menard Correctional Center. Warehousing without rehabilitation was the wrong direction by government.
Changes must be made at the Menard Correctional Center.Mark Clements was wrongfully convicted for murder as a 16 year old after Chicago police subjected him to physical and emotional torture under the command of torture ring-leader Jon Burge. Mark was finally freed in 2009 after having served 28 years in prison. Photo above: Virginia Clements, mother of Mark Clements, holds a banner of her son while he was incarcerated at the Pontiac Correctional Center in 2007