Maybe there are some upsides to going broke.

When Governor Pat Quinn recently proposed closing two state prisons, it was just the latest instance of budget problems accomplishing what human rights advocates haven’t been able to.

The governor didn’t make any arguments questioning the justice of keeping maximum-security inmates at Tamms in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. Nor did he talk about why Illinois has been a national leader in prison population growth. He didn’t suggest saving even more money by keeping nonviolent offenders out of prison in the first place.

Quinn merely uttered one quick sentence deep in his budget address that got right to the issue at hand: “The corrections department will close two prisons—Tamms and Dwight.” Corrections officials estimate the savings at $64 million a year.