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Report Says Illinois Prisons Failing To Implement Mental Health Reforms

Flickr user Tim (Timothy) Pearce / "Prison cell with bed inside Alcatraz main building san francisco california" (CC BY 2.0)

A newly-released report says psychiatric care in Illinois state prisons is “exceedingly poor and often...dangerous.”


The expert report is a required part of a settlement agreement over the treatment of prisoners with mental illness. The federal court-appointed monitor, Pablo Stewart, found that the Illinois Department of Corrections has made significant improvements to its mental health care system during the first year of the agreement. But in his report - filed in June and unsealed Friday - he said the state failed to make the “vast majority” of improvements required by the court.


For example, the expert monitor found that doctors were not following up with inmates prescribed psychotropic drugs, and sometimes prescription orders would expire and inmates would be left without medication for weeks.


He also found that harmful side-effects often went unrecorded.


A spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections says while they have not achieved 100% compliance with the agreement, they are working very hard to improve mental health treatment.