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Tamms Minimum Security Unit

Introduction to Tamms Minimum Security Unit

Tamms Minimum Security Unit, located in Tamms, Illinois, has been a subject of intense discussion and controversy over the years. It served as an integral part of the Illinois Department of Corrections before its closure in 2013.

The History of Tamms Minimum Security Unit

Establishment and Purpose

Tamms Minimum Security Unit was established in 1998. It was designed as a supermax and minimum-security prison in response to escalating violence within the Illinois prison system.

Notable Events

Throughout its existence, Tamms saw numerous notable events, including significant incidents of unrest and critical steps in reforming the prison system.

The Facility and Its Structure


Tamms Minimum Security Unit was a state-of-the-art facility at its inauguration. Its design intended to maximize security while minimizing the potential for violent encounters between inmates.

Housing Units

The prison comprised a 500-bed minimum-security unit and a 200-bed supermax unit, each tailored to accommodate the inmates according to their behavior and risk profile.

Recreational Facilities

Despite its supermax status, Tamms provided certain recreational facilities for the inmates, considering their mental health and overall well-being.

See also  Taylorville Correctional Center

Education and Rehabilitation Facilities

Tamms Minimum Security Unit believed in rehabilitation over punishment. Hence, the facility featured classrooms, workshops, and therapeutic units.

Life at Tamms Minimum Security Unit

Daily Routine

Life at Tamms was rigorously scheduled, ensuring a disciplined environment that aimed to correct and control inmate behavior.

Rehabilitation Programs

Several rehabilitation programs were offered, including substance abuse therapy, vocational training, and mental health services, providing a platform for prisoners to reform and reintegrate into society.

Employment Opportunities

Inmates had the opportunity to work in various capacities within the facility, helping them develop skills and contribute constructively to their environment.

Challenges and Controversies


Despite its intent, Tamms Minimum Security Unit faced criticism for its harsh solitary confinement practices, leading to human rights concerns.

Closure and Its Impact

The controversial practices led to its closure in 2013, causing a ripple effect in the Illinois prison system.

The Legacy of Tamms Minimum Security Unit

Tamms Minimum Security Unit left an indelible mark on the Illinois Department of Corrections, bringing about a paradigm shift in the way prison systems were handled in the state.


Despite its controversial legacy, Tamms Minimum Security Unit played a significant role in the evolution of the prison system in Illinois. Its existence brings valuable lessons on the balance between ensuring security and maintaining human rights in a correctional environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. When was the Tamms Minimum Security Unit established? The Tamms Minimum Security Unit was established in 1998.
  2. What was the purpose of the Tamms Minimum Security Unit? It was established to address the increasing violence in the Illinois prison system by providing a highly secure environment.
  3. What facilities were available in the Tamms Minimum Security Unit? The facility offered housing units, recreational facilities, and education and rehabilitation facilities for inmates.
  4. What were the criticisms against Tamms Minimum Security Unit? The facility faced criticism for its harsh solitary confinement practices, which led to concerns about human rights violations.
  5. When was the Tamms Minimum Security Unit closed? The Tamms Minimum Security Unit was closed in 2013 due to the controversies it faced.
See also  Jacksonville Correctional Center

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