The Illinios Department of Corrections has tentatively settled a lawsuit filed eight years ago alleging less than adequate mental health treatment in the state's prisons. IDOC says a judge has preliminarily approved the settlement of the class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of 11-thousand state prisoners who claimed they didn't receive mental health treatment while incarcerated.
A statement from the state agency says no liability is being admitted, but it is being recognized that times have changed,and mental health treatment has become important. $40 million in upgrades to the Pontiac, Logan, and Dixon Correctional centers in order to provide individualized care will be made, including both expansions and additional staffing.
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Attorneys for the prisoners say the agreement is great for prisoners needing mental health treatment, and IDOC says much the same, while also admitting their moves will increase safety for staff and offenders alike.
"Illinois prisons were not intended to be psychiatric hospitals but the reality is, they have become holding places for people who suffer from serious mental illness,” says IDOC Acting Director John Baldwin, in a news release. “Our end goal is to get them stabilized and help them cope and adjust to their environment."