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Lippert v. Jeffreys

In July 2010, a lawsuit was filed 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.

In January 2019, we reached a settlement agreement with IDOC! The State of Illinois has agreed to a court-approved monitor who will oversee a complete overhaul of the system providing health care to over 40,000 prisoners. The agreement outlines a number of guidelines, including a staffing plan that addresses the quantity and quality of medical professionals, health care spaces, and medical equipment in each facility.

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

Date Filed: July 23, 2010 

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

Judge: Judge Jorge Alonso

Status: Active

Case Number: 10 C 4603


More than a decade has passed since incarcerated people filed a class action lawsuit accusing the Illinois Department of Corrections of failing to provide adequate medical care to people in custody. But health care in the state’s prisons still falls short, and the department isn’t moving quickly enough to fix the myriad problems, according to a new report from an independent monitor.

In letters and interviews, men inside the facility describe conditions they say are continuing to drive infections at the Illinois prison hardest hit by coronavirus.

An amended lawsuit filed against Rob Jeffreys, director of the Illinois Department of Corrections, and Gov. J.B. Pritzker last week claims that the state’s prison system has failed to protect medically vulnerable prisoners from COVID-19.

For weeks, two houses in Illinois’ Vienna Correctional Center ran on generator power and had intermittent failures. The outages made it harder to use the shared bathroom, one of the few places they could wash their hands.

COVID-19 continues to have a devastating effect on one of Chicago’s most vulnerable congregate populations: jail and prison detainees. At least 153 inmates and 147 staffers in Illinois state prisons are currently diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections

As efforts continue to slow the spread of COVID-19 at Cook County Jail by reducing the inmate population, Gov. J.B. Pritzker could help the effort with the stroke of a pen.

Today’s guest is Alan Mills, the Executive Director of the Uptown People’s Law Center in Chicago. Alan has been fighting for the rights of imprisoned people for decades and has played a key role in recent efforts to free prisoners who are locked in facilities where the coronavirus is spreading like wildfire. Alan, welcome to the show.

Preventing the spread of covid-19 is difficult everywhere. But prisons are among the hardest places to protect. Worldwide there are 11m behind bars, according to Penal Reform International, a pressure group. That is the highest figure ever.

An Illinois lawmaker and a county sheriff are raising fresh concerns about Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s decision to release inmates as the spread of COVID-19 continues in the state’s prisons, including questions about transparency.

A federal judge Friday blocked a bid by state prisoners for an accelerated release or transfer amid the coronavirus, finding state officials’ current processes don’t violate their constitutional rights.

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