Lippert v. Baldwin

In May 2013, Uptown People's Law Center filed a lawsuit against the Illinois Department of Corrections stating that more than 50,000 prisoners are experiencing needless pain and suffering due to inadequate medical and dental care. 

"Prisoners are provided care which is so inadequate that serious illnesses are left untreated, people are forced to live in pain for months with easily treatable conditions, and in some cases have suffered permanent damage, had legs amputated, and even died as a result.” - Alan Mills, UPLC Executive Director

In May 2017, a federal judge ruled that the long-standing problems with the medical and dental care provided in Illinois’ state prisons must be addressed systematically, rather than relying on individual challenges from prisoners. In June 2017, the expert (former IDOC medical Director, Ronald Shansky) filed a report documenting pervasive problems ranging from broken equipment and lack of basic sanitation and infection control, to gross medical errors coupled with failures in basic care and follow up. The report even criticized the Illinois Department of Corrections for not having qualified physicians.


Attorneys: Alan Mills, Nicole Schult (Uptown People's Law Center), Ben Wolf, Camille Bennett, Lindsay Miller (ACLU of Illinois), Harold Hirshman (Dentons)

Date Filed: May 30, 2013

Court: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

Judge: Judge Jorge Alonso

Status: Active

Case Number: 10 C 4603

Documents:


Illinois lawmakers are considering a bill that would force prisons and jails in Illinois to provide information about how people in their custody die. The Illinois Department of Corrections often doesn’t provide basic information to families or the public and keeps shoddy and incomplete records, according to documents turned over to WBEZ by prison administrators.

The family of Chicago resident Charles Edward Jones who passed away in custody in 2015 is set to receive $1 million in a wrongful death lawsuit. The funds are to be paid by the city’s taxpayers.

“We hope this is the beginning of the end of prisoners’ needless suffering and even death. It is a long road, and we are committed to ensuring the necessary changes are made,” declared Alan Mills, executive director of the Uptown People’s Law Center.

A federal court has ordered the State of Illinois to address its “failure to . . . meet the constitutional requirements with respect to the mental health needs of” its approximately 12,000 prisoners with mental illness. This case reached a settlement agreement in 2016, but the Illinois Department of Corrections failed to live up to the agreement, and constitutional violations continued.

Amid claims of preventable deaths and substandard medical care, state officials have agreed to a sweeping overhaul of the health care system at prisons across Illinois, according to a proposed federal consent decree filed in Chicago on Thursday.

The Illinois Department of Corrections has agreed to a plan that would allow a federal judge to oversee health care in the state’s prisons. The agreement comes eight years after a lawsuit was filed alleging the treatment in Illinois’ prisons is so poor that it violates the constitution.

When Sheila Fane got the call that her 26-year-old nephew, who she’d raised as a son, had died while incarcerated at an Illinois prison, she said, “You have to be f-ing kidding me.” It was the second time she’d gotten a call like this.

Lawsuits that challenge mental healthcare and medical care for incarcerated people advance in Illinois.

Medical care in Illinois prisons remains “extremely poor” and conditions leading to preventable deaths have worsened since a court-appointed team of experts first assessed the state’s prison health program.

One third of the prisoner deaths in Illinois reviewed by an independent expert were preventable. That’s according to a new report that rips health care in Illinois prisons as extremely poor, with medical professionals committing egregious errors and little accountability or oversight. The findings by the independent expert echo the horror stories inmates have been telling for years.

  • Kenneth & Harle Montgomery Foundation