“Today a guy tried to kill himself,” an inmate of Tamms, the Illinois supermax prison, told me in a letter, dated April 25, that I received Saturday. “Supposedly he almost accomplished his mission. He tied a plastic bag over his head. Prison is a rough spot, and Tamms is especially rough. I don’t know if you heard but the Governor has slated Tamms to be closed.”

I had heard. I’d also read that a legislative commission has recommended against the proposal by Governor Pat Quinn to close a half dozen facilities, among them Tamms, because of the state’s money problems.