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Federal judge orders IDOC to fix “extremely dangerous situation”

Monday, May 28, 2018

* From last December

The Illinois Department of Corrections has taken considerable steps to enhance the delivery of care for offenders who are on the mental health caseload. The Department remains focused on fully complying with the terms of the Rasho v Baldwin settlement agreement… The Department remains committed to ensuring that mentally ill men and women receive the treatment that is essential to their wellbeing, rehabilitation and reentry into society.

* Today

U.S. District Court Judge Michael M. Mihm issued an opinion Friday in the class action case Rasho v. Baldwin ordering the Illinois Department of Corrections to provide mental health treatment to prisoners who are on “crisis watches” and in segregation, as well as to provide medication management, mental health evaluations and necessary mental health staff throughout the system.

The judge ruled that IDOC’s failure to provide mental health care constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of the U.S. Constitution, as well as violates the settlement agreement that the department entered.

In a 42-page decision, Mihm found that IDOC’s deliberate indifference to mentally ill prisoners is causing “irreparable harm” that requires the court to issue injunctive relief. The court decision states that the constraints faced by IDOC “are dwarfed by the immense harm to the inmates.”

    “These are mentally ill individuals, who themselves are left, in a very real way, at the mercy of the IDOC to provide them with the constitutionally minimal level of health care. And this is simply not being done, and based on the record presented, will not be done unless there is a preliminary injunction issued by this Court.”

This order comes almost two years to the day after a settlement agreement was reached by IDOC and lawyers representing the more-than 12,000 prisoners with mental illness in Illinois. The original class action challenge to the treatment of prisoners with mental illness was filed in 2007.

* The order is here

The testimony during the hearing shows deficiencies in medical treatment in segregation have created an extremely dangerous situation. The length of time, sometimes staggering, that inmates are put in segregation, without properly addressing their mental health medical needs, furthers the mental decomposition of the inmate.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - anon2 - Monday, May 28, 18 @ 1:08 pm:

    I don’t suppose the Governor will accept responsibility for this glaring failure to comply with the agreement. Will he hold anyone accountable at DOC? Or is this Madigan’s fault, too?

  2. - Annonin' - Monday, May 28, 18 @ 2:58 pm:

    There ya go wantin’ GovJunk to accept responsibility for somethin’ he knows nothin’ about. Only thing he knows is that he paid Stu Levine $30K a month and never met him.

  3. - NorthsideNoMore - Monday, May 28, 18 @ 3:07 pm:

    to anon2 -
    You can blame who you want, but this started years ago when the state started mainstreaming patients and grossly underfunding mental health. Closure of facilities has acerbated the situation. I’m no expert but guessing 30% or more of them should be housed elswhwere or wouldnt be there at all if they had access to services.

  4. - Truthteller - Monday, May 28, 18 @ 4:40 pm:

    It’s true that the genesis of the problem goes way back.
    It’s also true that Rauner has been Governor for four years and that cuttin’ taxes, fighting unions, and establishing right-to-work zones- his top priorities- wouldn’t do a thing to address this problem.
    One more Rauner failure.

  5. - crazybleedingheart - Monday, May 28, 18 @ 5:18 pm:

    IDOC says it’s doing fine.

    A central IL judge appointed by Reagan says it is unconstitutionally cruel.

    I believe the judge.

  6. - NPanon - Monday, May 28, 18 @ 8:18 pm:

    I’ve work in a state forensic mental health facility for many years. The mental health crisis has many angles that most don’t understand if they have never set foot in an IDOC facility or DHS facility. I’ve been in both. There are not enough workers to meet the needs of these facilities. The newly graduated psychiatrists and psychologists don’t want to work for the state when they learn about the pension and the lousy 10 days of vacation they earn for the first 5 years. They can work private sector and make much more money and have better benefits. Another contributing factor is the mismanagement of these facilities. They hire people as wardens and hospital administrators who have no business with this much respinsibility because their background consists of running a nursing home. And when that person doesn’t work out, instead of letting them go they move them to another position, making more money. Look into Anita sawyer-bazil.

  7. - Indefensible - Tuesday, May 29, 18 @ 10:19 am:

    “IDOC says it’s doing fine.”
    Don’t believe everything the IL AG, your attorney says… Your tax dollars at work defending IDOC.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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