Illinois prison health care lawsuit getting boost from ACLU

May 31, 2013

(WBEZ/Bill Healy)
Attorney Alan Mills of the Uptown People's Law Center

Update: The Illinois Department of Corrections and attorneys for plaintiffs say they have a settlement conference scheduled for late June.  The date for that settlement conference was set several weeks ago.

A lawsuit over health care in prisons in Illinois is getting a boost from the American Civil Liberties Union. The federal class action lawsuit charges the Department of Corrections and Wexford Health Sources, a private healthcare company, with providing wholly inadequate health care to inmates.

The suit was filed by Alan Mills who runs the Uptown People’s Law Center, which focuses on prison issues. Mills says the ACLU is joining the case and brings lots of experience to the table in civil rights and class action cases.

His own group, Mills says, is a very small operation.

"We have lots of expertise in the way the prisons work," he said, "but don’t have the horses to do this alone, so I think everybody brings to the table here some really good skills which will allow us to bring this case through to a verdict in the plaintiff’s favor.”

Mills says, so far, Wexford, the private health care company with a contract to care for the inmates, and the Department of Corrections have refused to sit down and discuss a possible settlement. Wexford and the Department of Corrections did not immediately have a comment on the lawsuit.