Illinois Torturing Prisoners with Solitary Confinement; Class Action Lawsuit Filed Today

CHICAGO, IL—(ENEWSPF)–June 24, 2015 — This morning, Uptown People’s Law Center and Winston & Strawn LLP filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of prisoners against the Illinois Department of Corrections for its overuse and misuse of solitary confinement in Illinois prisons.

Approximately 2,500 prisoners are in solitary confinement in Illinois at any given time. Prisoners can be put there for even slight infractions, such as rolling one’s eyes at a guard, or in retaliation for helping other prisoners assert their legal rights. Many of these prisoners have spent months, years, and in some cases decades in solitary confinement.

Last week, United States Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy stated in Davis v. Ayala: “…the penal system has a solitary confinement regime that will bring you to the edge of madness, perhaps to madness itself.”

A United Nations expert on torture has called on all countries to ban the solitary confinement of prisoners, stating that solitary confinement for longer than 15 days amounts to torture.

Thirty thousand prisoners are released from Illinois’ prisons every year. Those who have been subjected to prolonged solitary confinement are often too traumatized to work and must collect Social Security income.

“The state of Illinois puts too many people into solitary, and for petty reasons. The conditions there are appalling and unconstitutional, and we leave people in there for too long. Worst of all, Illinois’ excessive use of solitary doesn’t make our prisons safer, doesn’t protect staff, and does nothing to protect the public,” says Alan Mills, Executive Director of Uptown People’s Law Center.

Uptown People’s Law Center (UPLC) is a nonprofit legal services organization specializing in prisoners’ rights, Social Security disability, and tenants’ rights and eviction defense. UPLC currently has ten pending class action lawsuits regarding jail and prison conditions.

Winston & Strawn LLP is an international law firm with 18 offices located throughout North America, Asia, and Europe.

Source: Uptown People’s Law Center