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Actually, the governor opposes the bill

Monday, Sep 9, 2019

* WBEZ

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzer is refusing to say if he would support a bill that would require transparency around prison deaths after a WBEZ investigation found prison staff ignored warning signs and falsified documents connected to three men who died on three consecutive days at Menard prison. An internal investigation by the Department of Corrections largely absolved staff of wrongdoing, and a correctional officer who admitted to falsifying documents remains employed.

Family members say they were given very little information about the deaths of their loved ones at Menard. A bill that would have required jails and prisons to provide family members and the Illinois attorney general with information about prison deaths recently failed to pass the state legislature, but lawmakers and advocates say they plan to try and pass a similar bill soon. […]

At least 166 people died while in Illinois prisons from January 2017 to September 2018, according to records obtained by WBEZ. In around half of those cases, IDOC’s research department had no cause of death listed. When WBEZ requested records on specific deaths, the department claimed that in some cases, it didn’t have even basic information like death certificates or death reports.

The bill is here.

* Scroll down

The Illinois Department of Corrections and the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association both opposed the bill last session.

IDOC couldn’t oppose that bill without the consent of the governor’s office. That means the governor himself is opposed. It would be nice if his office could’ve outlined to WBEZ what it would like to see done about this.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

8 Comments »
  1. - OneMan - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 12:38 pm:

    As it has been said before here
    Governors own

    I suspect it isn’t an onerous mandate that is the issue here, but perhaps more visibility into what happens in jails and prisons. A reporting requirement seems like a good government and criminal justice reform no-brainer as it were.

    Then again, I am sure someone will make an effort to point out the opposition is, in fact, Rauner’s fault.


  2. - Stark - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 12:40 pm:

    It’d really be nice if we could actually care about people in prison, they’re still people.


  3. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 12:43 pm:

    ===Then again, I am sure someone will make an effort to point out the opposition is, in fact, Rauner’s fault.===

    - OneMan -, you’re better than that.

    ===IDOC couldn’t oppose that bill without the consent of the governor’s office. That means the governor himself is opposed.===

    Governors own. The agencies under that governor, they own the moves, policies, positions, spending, that’s the governing part.

    It would be Governor Pritzker that would own his veto or signature, so asking this administration about the agency’s position and getting a response is beyond fair and just.


  4. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 12:49 pm:

    It would seem to be a logical bill and should pass. I would suggest that ever death in jail or prison be investigated by the state police just as when there are police shootings


  5. - Think Clearly - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 12:59 pm:

    Stark, it would be nice if folks like you could actually put thought into your remarks. To make a generalization like that is not only wrong but insensitive to the truth.


  6. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 1:36 pm:

    Why would IDOC and Pritzker want to make the job of prison officials harder? If they don’t know the cause of deaths how do they prevent deaths? For example if prisoners were getting measles they could take steps to vaccinate the other prisoners. Or food allergies were causing deaths they could make sure they have Epi pens available.


  7. - Skeptic - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 1:41 pm:

    Is there an issue with privacy?


  8. - Streamwood Retiree - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 1:46 pm:

    Regardless of anything else, falsifying official documents is grounds for firing, period. I’m surprised it’s not a crime, at least a misdemeanor.


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