IDOC To Serve More Prisoners With Mental Illness

Sep 9, 2016

Per the terms of a court settlement ... Illinois is expanding services for mentally ill prisoners.

The department of corrections Friday announced it will take over a section of a state-run mental health hospital in Elgin.

But the AFSCME union says the state is going about it wrong.

Spokesman Anders Lindall says the DOC is taking over hospital beds currently filled by civilians who need short-term mental health treatment.

Lindall says Illinois' mental health safety net is already tattered.
 
"There's a real problem in corrections that needs to be addressed with additional mental health services and treatment for inmates. Absolutely. This is not a solution to that problem. It is shifting the problem."
 
The head of a prison advocacy group - Alan Mills of the Uptown People's Law Center - that was involved in the court case says on this point, he agrees with the union.  But he also says that AFSCME should realize that moving offenders with severe mental illness out of prisons will improve conditions for guards.