Below is a statement on behalf of the ACLU of Illinois, Uptown People’s Law Center and law firm Dentons, lawyers for the plaintiffs in Lippert v. Jeffreys, litigation to reform the health care system inside the Illinois Department of Corrections:
“Governor Pritzker’s sensible decision to temporarily delay transfers from County jails to IDOC reception centers in light of COVID-19 is critical to protect the health and well-being of those detained in Illinois prisons. This temporary measure permits IDOC to protect its present population, and be assured of sufficient supplies and tests to protect staff, the prisoners and the communities which house the prisoners. The medical experts in the Lippert litigation recommended this approach, consistent with recent CDC guidance to protect public health.
To date, there are very few confirmed cases of COVID-19 in IDOC facilities. As the number of confirmed cases climb in Illinois, now is not the time to introduce new persons into prisons without sufficient assurance they have not been exposed to the virus.
Sheriffs, who are responsible for people inside jails across Illinois, should also follow the guidance of the CDC and significantly reduce their populations. This moment is an opportunity to assess their own facilities.
We thank Governor Pritzker for this action.”