On Dec. 21, 2015, Molly, then 23 years old, climbed the fence of Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln, Illinois, where she had been incarcerated since 2013. (To protect Molly’s identity, only her first name is being used.)

“I’m not trying to escape, I just wanted to cut myself,” she told the officers, according to a disciplinary report. She used the razor wire from the fence to cut her arm.

She was pepper sprayed and charged with disobeying a direct order to come down. Her punishment was one month of restricted recreation.

“I was a cutter before I went to prison, but it wasn’t that bad,” Molly, who was released earlier this year, told The Appeal. “But when I got to prison, it just spiraled out of control.”

Mental healthcare, as well as medical and dental care, for Illinois prisoners have been the subject of two class-action lawsuits against the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC)—Rasho v. Baldwin and Lippert v. Baldwin, filed in 2007 and 2010. Taken together, the suits paint a bleak picture of care for the bodies and minds of Illinois prisoners.

Most healthcare inside the state’s prisons is provided by Wexford Health Sources, which in 2011 was awarded a 10-year contract with the IDOC, worth more than $1.36 billion, according to a Wexford press release.

In 2016, the plaintiffs and the IDOC entered into a settlement agreement in Rasho v. Baldwin, in which the IDOC agreed to implement a wide range of reforms to improve its mental healthcare system. But on Oct. 30, U.S. District Judge Michael M. Mihm agreed with the plaintiffs that the IDOC has continued to provide inadequate care. He granted a permanent injunction, requiring the IDOC to comply with the settlement agreement and the U.S. Constitution, starting with submitting a plan detailing how it will do so.

“It is clear mentally ill inmates continue to suffer as they wait for the IDOC to do what it said it was going to do,” Mihm wrote in his order. “The Court cannot allow this to continue.”

Mihm found that, although some improvements had been made since the initial settlement, the IDOC remains “deliberately indifferent” to the needs of the more than 12,000 prisoners who are mentally ill.

When it comes to “medication management, mental health treatment in segregation, mental health treatment on crisis watch, mental health evaluations, and mental health treatment plans,” he wrote, the agency’s conduct defies the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. There are also “systemic and gross deficiencies in the staffing of mental health providers,” according to his order.

Alan Mills, executive director of Uptown People’s Law Center, said Mihm’s ruling was a “very important step.” Uptown People’s Law Center filed the suit with Equip for Equality, as well as Mayer Brown and Dentons, two global law firms.

“This is the judge saying, ‘You are violating the Constitution. You are actually harming people. You have to fix it,’” Mills told The Appeal.

In November, the defendants submitted a four-page plan on how to comply with the order, but it was criticized as inadequate by plaintiffs, who proposed their own more detailed plan.

Read full article here – https://theappeal.org/no-shower-wearing-diapers-laying-there-for-so-long/