Class Action Suit vs. Gov. Pritzker & IDOC

Livestream of today’s press conference
can be viewed here.

In response to the swiftly spreading coronavirus epidemic in Illinois’ prisons, a consortium of the area’s leading civil rights attorneys and community advocates today filed three cases seeking release of prisoners: a federal class action suit against the Governor and Illinois Department of Corrections; a federal habeus corpus action; and a direct action to the Illinois Supreme Court.

All three cases demand the swift release of those prisoners most vulnerable to the epidemic before they fall victim to it.

By dragging its feet in the face of the pandemic, IDOC and Illinois’ political leaders are putting prisoners, prison staff and the general public at greater risk of severe illness and death. One prisoner is already dead, and 7 are on life support. Prisons, with their tightly packed populations, confined spaces, and lack of sanitation are petri dishes for spreading deadly epidemics.

Prison staff exposed to such conditions can easily cause explosive outbreaks in their communities. Elderly prisoners and those with underlying health conditions are being punished by confinement, not given likely death sentences.

Copies of the Federal complaint and its attachments can be found here and here. Links to the Petition that was filed in Federal Court and its attachments can be found here and here. The Petition to the Illinois Supreme Court can be found here and here.

Participants in the press conference include people with loved ones inside IDOC; attorneys and advocates with Black Lives Matter Chicago, Chicago Torture Justice Center, Community Justice & Civil Rights Clinic at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Equip For Equality, Illinois Prison Project, Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law, Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center, and Uptown People’s Law Center.

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