The Chicago Tribune published an article about the recently released expert reports examining conditions in detention facilities operated by the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice. The reports are a result of an agreement reached in the ACLU of Illinois lawsuit R.J. v. Bishop, and are the foundation for assessing improvements that can be made so that youth are no longer detained in facilities with substandard conditions.
Their findings, part of a federal class-action lawsuit brought last year by the ACLU of Illinois, set the stage for negotiations between ACLU attorneys and the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice on a plan to fix the shortcomings.
The experts found that there were too few mental health and security staff in the state's prisons for juveniles, that some youths were being confined for 22 hours a day and that the education programs were "grossly inadequate." In addition, the entire juvenile justice department doesn't have a single psychiatrist specializing in children or adolescents on staff, they said.