WBEZ | Robert Wildeboer http://www.wbez.org/tags/robert-wildeboer Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Prison health care worker finds request for medical care after inmate dies http://www.wbez.org/news/prison-health-care-worker-finds-request-medical-care-after-inmate-dies-110470 <p><p>On July 28, 2012, Elawndoe Shannon put in a request for sick call at the prison where he was housed in Lawrence, Illinois. Two days later, he died. The day after his death a nurse in the health care unit finally got his request slip for medical care.</p><p>&ldquo;That means somebody took it and just said, &lsquo;Oh it don&rsquo;t matter, ain&rsquo;t nothing wrong with him.&rsquo; That&rsquo;s crazy!&rdquo; said his sister Jackie Shannon in a recent interview on the front porch of her house on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side.</p><p>&ldquo;Everybody&rsquo;s entitled to see a doctor. I don&rsquo;t care, you could live in a hole somewhere. If you come out of that hole and you&rsquo;re sick, you should be able to see a doctor. How many other ones in there that need to see the doctor are not seeing a doctor?&rdquo; she said.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="20" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/157870823&amp;color=ff5500&amp;inverse=false&amp;auto_play=false" width="736.25px"></iframe></p><p>It&rsquo;s not unusual for Illinois inmates to complain that they have trouble seeing doctors.</p><p>In another story, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-inmate-dies-3-hours-after-seeking-medical-care-110460">WBEZ reported on Anthony Rencher</a> who went to the prison health care unit in the middle of the night where he was observed in the waiting room for an hour before he returned to his cell where he died.</p><p>And then there&rsquo;s the case of Daniel Nevarez.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20Shot%202014-07-10%20at%2012.15.56%20AM.png" style="width: 620px;" title="Salvador Nevarez sitting on the front stoop of his home near Midway Airport with his son, Alonzo. (WBEZ/Robert Wildeboer)" /><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 24.44444465637207px; line-height: 22px;">Letter from the grave</span></p><p>Daniel&rsquo;s brother Alonzo Nevarez sits on the front stoop of his dad&rsquo;s bungalow near Midway Airport and reads through a letter his brother Danny wrote from prison.</p><p>&ldquo;We got the letter after Danny passed, and it was, it&rsquo;s him talking from the grave actually,&rdquo; said Nevarez.</p><p>It&rsquo;s in Spanish and Alonzo translates while he reads. &ldquo;The reason for this card, to beg you to help him, he&rsquo;s sick, and the people from this facility, no me quieren, they don&rsquo;t want to help me. These people are not taking me serious. I need help.&rdquo;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="20" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/157730343&amp;color=ff5500&amp;inverse=false&amp;auto_play=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><blockquote><p><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14.44444465637207px; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Related:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/natural-causes-death-illinois-prisons-110455" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); outline: 0px;" target="_blank">Man who died of prostate cancer showed symptoms in prison 14 years before death</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>According to medical records, in March of 2010 Nevarez complained to a prison health care worker of pain in his knee. The prison took an X-ray but found nothing. The doctor prescribed some drugs and told Nevarez to exercise as much as possible.</p><p>A year later Nevarez was still complaining about his knee. He was prescribed Motrin and referred to a doctor. The next two appointments with the prison doctor were cancelled, one because of understaffing and another one because there was no security escort.</p><p>&ldquo;He called when he was in prison complaining that they were ignoring him. They wouldn&rsquo;t let him see the doctor,&rdquo; said Nevarez.</p><p>The medical records also show that on several occasions Nevarez refused to see health care workers. In one instance he&rsquo;s quoted as refusing to see the prison doctor because he wants to be immediately taken for surgery on his knee. On another occasion he refuses to pay the $2.00 co-pay and is therefore denied care.</p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 24.44444465637207px; line-height: 22px;">Cancer diagnosis</span></p><p>When the mass on his knee was diagnosed as cancer 15 months after his first complaints, the tumor was hard to miss. It was 5 centimeters by 5 centimeters by 3 centimeters.</p><p>Daniel&rsquo;s father Salvador Nevarez said his son was complaining that the prison wasn&rsquo;t giving him health care,&nbsp; so the family had a lawyer contact the prison.</p><p>Nevarez went to an outside hospital where the tumor was removed. He also went for 33 radiation treatments. A year after his treatments on December 13, 2012, Nevarez once again sought medical care. According to records he appears to have fainted and gotten a cut above his eye when he fell.</p><p>He told doctors his head hurt and he couldn&rsquo;t remember things. A doctor at the facility seems to have decided Nevarez was lying in an attempt to get drugs. The way it&rsquo;s recorded in the medical record is: &ldquo;appears to be med seeking.&rdquo;</p><p>Nevarez was sent back to his cell. He fell into a coma. A CT scan of his head was taken and it showed he had two large, dense brain tumors and swelling in his brain. He died that day at the age of 31.</p><p>The autopsy states, &ldquo;Given the lack of follow up care and systemic chemotherapy for this patient, in combination with with the poor prognosis in general for such a tumor, it is not surprising that he developed widespread metastases a year after diagnosis.&rdquo;</p><p>In the death review the department handed over to WBEZ, where it asks, &lsquo;Was an earlier intervention possible?&rsquo; the answer is redacted. On the non-redacted version given to the family, it says the cancer diagnosis could have been made sooner, though it says it was, &ldquo;probably too late for significant intervention.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 24.44444465637207px; line-height: 22px;">Seeing a doctor &#39;can take months&#39;</span></p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a symptom of an overloaded system that it takes forever to get over to a doctor,&rdquo; said Alan Mills, an attorney specializing in prison litigation. &ldquo;And then once you&rsquo;re there you don&rsquo;t see the doctor right away, you go through two or three screening processes before you finally get to see a doctor. So that can take months.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;There are red flags all over the place,&rdquo; said Mills. &ldquo;But without the details, you have to get beyond just saying, &lsquo;well this person died too soon.&rsquo; You don&rsquo;t know that unless a doctor looks at the medical records and says, &lsquo;no this test was done or this test wasn&rsquo;t done, this is what the follow should have been and it wasn&rsquo;t.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>That work is now being done by a doctor appointed by a federal judge as part of the class action suit Mills filed over health care.</p><p>The State of Illinois pays a company called Wexford Health Sources more than $100 million a year to provide health care in the prisons. Wexford did not return repeated calls for comment over the last two weeks. That&rsquo;s just the most recent refusal&mdash;WBEZ has had an ongoing request for an interview with the company for almost two years.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20Shot%202014-07-10%20at%2012.16.06%20AM.png" style="width: 620px;" title="Attorney Alan Mills says a review of health care in the Illinois Department of Corrections by outside medical experts will answer a lot of questions. (WBEZ/Robert Wildeboer)" /></div><p>Attorney Alan Mills has studied the contract between Wexford and the state.</p><p>&ldquo;Wexford gets paid the same amount whether they provide a lot of care or a little care, so therefore, every time they provide care their stockholders lose money. So that is a fine model, but you have to have some control to make sure that they&rsquo;re actually providing the care that you&rsquo;re contracted to giving them. Nobody in the state of Illinois regularly audits the Wexford contract, either financially, or more importantly, a health audit to see what the outcomes are that we&rsquo;re getting,&rdquo; said Mills.</p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 24.44444465637207px; line-height: 22px;">IDOC won&#39;t discuss Mills</span></p><p>Illinois Department of Corrections spokesman Tom Shaer won&rsquo;t discuss issues raised by Mills. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not going to discuss anything that Alan Mills says because Alan Mills has been proven to state things that are false, so I&rsquo;m going to respectfully decline to include any information coming from Alan Mills in this interview. Anybody else you want to talk about, fine, not him,&rdquo; said Shaer.</p><p>The medical director who oversees more than $100 million Illinois pays Wexford for medical care refused to speak to WBEZ.</p><p>WBEZ asked Gov. Pat Quinn&rsquo;s office about the medical director&rsquo;s refusal to discuss medical care. After an initial conversation the governor&rsquo;s office simply ignored follow-up calls and emails from WBEZ.</p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 24.44444465637207px; line-height: 22px;">Illinois prisons have low death rates compared to other prisons</span></p><p>Shaer says focussing on just a few cases does not give an accurate picture of health care in the department. He points to Bureau of Justice statistics showing Illinois&rsquo; prison system has one of the lowest death rates in the country compared to other prison systems.</p><p>&ldquo;We have pretty high standards here. We do the best we can within our ability to monitor that and if we felt that our ability wasn&rsquo;t adequate, we would find a way to address that,&rdquo; said Shaer.</p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 24.44444465637207px; line-height: 22px;">Independent experts should provide some answers soon</span></p><p>&ldquo;I see enough things that tell me there are really some warning signs here. I mean there are problems,&rdquo; said State Rep. Greg Harris.</p><p>Harris held committee hearings last year to dig into allegations of poor care.</p><p>&ldquo;You know in the testimony, in the contacts from individual families, in the lawsuits that have been settled and paid by the state for deaths that should have been preventable, I know there are things that we should have done that we did not do and that there are probably things that we ought to be doing better now,&rdquo; said Harris.</p><p>As a result of the hearings, Harris concluded that no one in Illinois is paying close attention to the $100 million the state pays Wexford every year. Harris brought in the National Commission on Correctional Health Care to audit health care, both the finances, and the health outcomes.</p><p>He says independent experts who know how to evaluate health care in a prison setting are looking at the system and should provide some answers soon. That audit is in addition to a federal court monitor who is also evaluating Illinois&rsquo; prison health care system in response to complaints.</p></p> Thu, 10 Jul 2014 00:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/prison-health-care-worker-finds-request-medical-care-after-inmate-dies-110470 Illinois inmate dies 3 hours after seeking medical care http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-inmate-dies-3-hours-after-seeking-medical-care-110460 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 6.17.11 AM.png" alt="" /><p><p>Keith Dean has a manila envelope that causes him a lot of grief and regret, but he can&rsquo;t throw it out. On his front porch, by the light of a single lamp next to his front door on a quiet street in Gary, Indiana, he turns the envelope over in his hand.</p><p>&ldquo;I always looked at this envelope on the outside when I&rsquo;m going through my office trying to organize, throw away stuff I don&rsquo;t need but I never threw this away. I just kept it in a file,&rdquo; said Dean.</p><p>But Dean hasn&rsquo;t looked at the envelope for a couple years and can&rsquo;t actually remember what&rsquo;s in it. He knows it was some medical stuff from his brother in prison but when he opens the envelope he is surprised to find a letter from his brother as well. He pulls it out and reads from it to me.</p><p>&ldquo;&lsquo;This doctor has endangered my life by failing to provide me with the proper follow ups and examinations. I need to get out of this facility before something happens to me, man.&rsquo;&nbsp; That was dated February the 5th, 2011. Almost a month later, he passed away,&rdquo; Dean said with his eyes downcast.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">What are families supposed to do?</span></p><p>Kevin Dean was 49 when he died. Keith Dean says his brother used to complain all the time that he needed medical care and the prison wasn&rsquo;t giving it to him. Once Keith called the prison and was told that his brother was receiving proper care. Beyond that he wasn&rsquo;t sure what he was supposed to do. He still doesn&rsquo;t know.</p><p>&ldquo;He was sending me this to show me that definitely, there&rsquo;s something wrong, and they&rsquo;re not taking the proper steps as far as his medical care and I just didn&rsquo;t, I didn&rsquo;t know it was as bad as it was,&rdquo; said Dean. &ldquo;I just didn&rsquo;t believe it. I figured you&rsquo;ll be alright, you&rsquo;ll be okay and I have to live with that. I just wished I had a paid attention, man.&rdquo;</p><blockquote><p><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/natural-causes-death-illinois-prisons-110455" target="_blank">Man who died in prison of prostate cancer showed symptoms 14 years before death</a></strong></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:24px;">IDOC: Care is &#39;adequate&#39;</span></p><p>&ldquo;We do our job constitutionally and legally. Is it the best health care in the world? No, but it is adequate and that&rsquo;s our job,&rdquo; said Illinois Department of Corrections spokesman Tom Shaer in a recent interview at the State of Illinois building in Chicago&rsquo;s Loop.</p><p>Between 80 and 100 people die behind bars in Illinois every year. The average age of the people who die is 54. The Department of Corrections says it carefully reviews every death, but information on deaths provided to WBEZ was scattershot and incomplete.</p><p>WBEZ has been reviewing IDOC records regarding deaths in custody in 2011 and 2012 and we&rsquo;ve found some cases that seem especially egregious.</p><p>For example, according to an incident report by a nurse at the Vandalia prison, on October 2, 2011 an inmate named Anthony Rencher went to the health care unit at 2 a.m.</p><p>In her report the nurse notes Rencher was complaining that he didn&rsquo;t feel well and couldn&rsquo;t walk. The nurse then wrote, &ldquo;but he could walk.&rdquo; I go over the nurse&rsquo;s report with IDOC spokesman Tom Shaer. Here&rsquo;s our exchange:</p><p>&ldquo;She says no abnormal findings,&quot; I said. &quot;She says she observes him in the waiting room for an hour. At 3 a.m. he requests to go back to his cell. To me that make very eminent sense. He goes for medical care, he doesn&rsquo;t get any, there&rsquo;s no tests run, there&rsquo;s nothing being done&hellip;&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Let me ask you this right now,&rdquo; Shaer said.</p><p>&ldquo;Well, let me finish,&rdquo; I said.</p><p>&ldquo;No let me finish,&quot; Shaer said. &quot;So you just decided that the reason he asked to go back to his cell is that he didn&rsquo;t get the treatment, rather than he may have been feeling okay. How do you know why he made that decision? You just presumed that he decided that because he didn&rsquo;t get the care he sought so that&rsquo;s why he went back to his cell. How do you know he didn&rsquo;t decide to go back because he no longer had symptoms?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Because he died two and a half hours later,&rdquo; I said.</p><p>&ldquo;Okay,&quot; Shaer asked. &quot;How do you know that he had symptoms at the time, two and a half hours before his death?&rdquo;</p><p>According to the report, after sitting in the waiting room in the prison&rsquo;s health care unit for an hour at three in the morning, Rencher returned to his cell where he died. Shaer says unfortunately many of us know people who die unexpectedly without any warning signs.</p><p>&ldquo;To say that he went there and got no treatment is inaccurate. That&rsquo;s just not accurate,&rdquo; said Shaer. &ldquo;If he&rsquo;s in the healthcare unit being seen by a medical professional he is getting treatment and this inmate did.&rdquo;</p><p>To be clear, Shaer is a press spokesman, not a doctor. Dr. Louis Shicker, the medical director of Illinois&rsquo; Department of Corrections, refused to talk with us about the $100 million in medical care he oversees.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">IDOC: Documentation is difficult</span></p><p>Two years ago, after hearing complaints about health care, WBEZ submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for incident reports for all inmate deaths in the Department of Corrections. The department denied the FOIA, and fought it through an appeal to the attorney general of Illinois, saying it would be too burdensome. They said it would take months to collect the information because it&rsquo;s kept at all the different prisons around the state.</p><p>When WBEZ threatened to sue, the department did finally hand over documents, but the records were incomplete to say the least, and did not even reflect all the deaths that occurred. For example, the department says 97 inmates died in 2011 but the records handed over to WBEZ as part of a legal proceeding stretching out over the course of a year reflect only 79 deaths, omitting 18.</p><p>&ldquo;Eighteen out of 97, we don&rsquo;t feel, is indicative of a major problem with getting you the information you&rsquo;re entitled to. But I would say anything less than a hundred percent is not satisfactory. There are different levels of being unsatisfactory. This is a moderate level of dissatisfaction that we have and we&rsquo;re looking into it but I can&rsquo;t tell you why you asked for 97 and got 79,&rdquo; said Shaer.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">ACLU: Don&#39;t count on IDOC stats</span></p><p>&ldquo;If you say you look at every death and analyze what happened and how to fix it, that should be readily available and if it&rsquo;s not, what does that tell you?&rdquo; said Benjamin Wolf, the associate legal director of the ACLU of Illinois.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;I also don&rsquo;t think any of the department&rsquo;s statistics are ones that I would count on as being accurate,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>The ACLU is one of the parties in a federal class action lawsuit over health care in prison.</p><p>&ldquo;When we decide whether to jump into a major class action we want to make sure it&rsquo;s a good commitment of our limited resources, including our limited staff, and this problem emerged as one of the most serious civil liberties problems in this state,&rdquo; said Wolf.</p><p>Wolf says before deciding to join the health care case the ACLU did some research. They hired experts in correctional health care to go through lots of records and policies and data.</p><p>&quot;It looked to them like there were very serious problems and very serious deficiencies including some deficiencies that may have caused people to die,&rdquo; Wolf said.</p><p>As part of the class action suit, the court has now appointed an expert who is doing a review of health care inside Illinois prisons. It means an independent doctor has access to all the medical records and death reviews and is going into the facilities as well.</p><p>&ldquo;I think we&rsquo;re going to learn that the department&rsquo;s excuses for these things and defenses for a lot of these things are not persuasive and that their system is in fact deeply flawed and dangerous to the inmates,&rdquo; said Wolf.</p><p>Wolf says, when the expert report becomes public, Illinois citizens will have a much more accurate picture of health care inside Illinois prisons.</p></p> Wed, 09 Jul 2014 06:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-inmate-dies-3-hours-after-seeking-medical-care-110460 Of natural causes: Death in Illinois prisons http://www.wbez.org/news/natural-causes-death-illinois-prisons-110455 <p><p dir="ltr"><em>Updated 11:45 a.m. July 9, 2014</em></p><p dir="ltr">When Doris Green married an inmate in prison, she knew it was kind of weird, and yet for her it was also normal. As a prison chaplain the Rev. Green says she performed more than 20 weddings between inmates and women on the outside.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;No one else wanted to bring people together like that because it&rsquo;s something wrong with that because they&rsquo;re criminals,&rdquo; Green said in a recent interview at an office on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side where she runs a prison ministry program. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m like, &lsquo;aw, c&rsquo;mon now.&rsquo; They wanted me to do it because none of their chaplains wanted to, so I didn&rsquo;t care. I loved it. I loved counselling with them and preparing for their wedding and making sure their families got there and I did all that. Sure did.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Green says she eventually fell in love with and decided to marry Michael Smith, inmate N40598.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s my time, and I&rsquo;m gonna do this and here&rsquo;s your volunteer ID. Take it back,&rdquo; Green said.</p><p dir="ltr">She says she knows it was a little scandalous.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It is. I&rsquo;m so bad and I&rsquo;m a minister too. I&rsquo;m so bad you know, but whatever. Who tells who, who to love?&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">When Green gave up her work as a prison chaplain she stayed involved in prison issues. She&rsquo;s currently the director of correctional health and community affairs for the Aids Foundation of Chicago. She helps connect inmates leaving prison with health care on the outside. Because of her job she knows health care workers in the Department of Corrections. But that didn&rsquo;t make much difference when her husband got sick.</p><p dir="ltr">On May 19, 2011, Smith died of prostate cancer. Green pulls out a medical record that she keeps protected in plastic. &ldquo;PSA was 7.6, high, they put in parenthesis &lsquo;high,&rsquo; and look at the date on here.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The date is December of 1997. Fourteen years before he died of prostate cancer a prison medical record shows he had a high PSA, which is an indicator of prostate cancer. The record says &ldquo;needs follow up,&rdquo; but Green says 14 years later her husband died from prostate cancer that hadn&rsquo;t been treated.</p><p dir="ltr">Between 80 and 100 people die each year inside Illinois prisons. WBEZ has sought information about those deaths, but the Department of Corrections under Gov. Pat Quinn is taking a &ldquo;trust us, nothing to see here&rdquo; attitude. However, persistent and disturbing complaints from inmates and their families make it hard to just move along.</p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:24px;">Symptoms too obvious to ignore </span></p><p dir="ltr">Green says in 2011 her husband was getting up to urinate five times a night and was in extreme pain. That followed a decade of complaints of back pain, noted in the medical record. Green pushed the prison system to get him to a doctor at an outside hospital.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;So when the urologist tested him, really gave him the biopsy, it was Stage 4 prostate cancer and bone cancer in his back,&rdquo; she said.</p><p dir="ltr">The treating physician says at that point the PSA level had risen from 7.6 in 1997 to 250.6. &nbsp;He says he then prescribed an anti-hormonal injection, but that the Department of Corrections must never have given Smith that injection because the next time he saw Smith the PSA level was 892. He says the cancer should have been diagnosed much earlier.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I know everybody,&rdquo; said Green. &ldquo;I got them on speed dial, the director, all of them. I work with them and help people make sure they have health care. I couldn&rsquo;t get it for my own husband. I could get, I could talk to the people but I couldn&rsquo;t get the people, as the wife, I couldn&rsquo;t get the people to respond to the urgency of my husband&rsquo;s condition.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Green says she didn&rsquo;t find out about that 1997 test with the high PSA level until after her husband&rsquo;s death.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img a="" alt="" and="" any="" at="" before="" care="" class="image-original_image" custody="" dramatically="" entering="" had="" have="" health="" hepatitis="" higher="" hiv="" idoc="" inmates="" issues="" many="" national="" not="" of="" or="" other="" percentage="" received="" regular="" serious="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/deathage.png" style="height: 196px; width: 500px;" than="" the="" title="*Source: WBEZ review of Illinois state prison death records for 2011 and 2012. **Source: Center for Disease Control, 2011. According to IDOC spokesman Tom Shaer: &quot;The 'young people' entering IDOC custody have a percentage of Hepatitis C, HIV and other serious health issues dramatically higher than the 'national average' and many inmates with serious health issues had not received regular health care (or any at all) before entering IDOC.&quot;" with="" young="" /></div></div></div></div><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:24px;">Spouse kept in the dark</span></p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We couldn&rsquo;t do anything about something we didn&rsquo;t know,&quot; Green said. &quot;And when I say that, I ran across that one page after I got his medical records sent to me. That&rsquo;s when I seen the medical that he&rsquo;d had that prostate cancer, prostate test way back then. These people knew what was happening in my husband&rsquo;s body and just didn&rsquo;t tell him and didn&rsquo;t tell me! They knew he was suffering! It&rsquo;s all in here!&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">While pushing for medical care for her husband Green says she&rsquo;d also been asking the governor&rsquo;s office for compassionate release so her husband could die at home, but that didn&rsquo;t happen. She says he died in his cell.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;And that same day he died I got a call from the governor&rsquo;s office asking to meet with me about Michael Smith,&quot; Green said. &quot;And the receptionist that called me was so, I can feel it in her voice. I felt that I wanted to comfort her in some way. I told her, I said, he just died. And she said, I&rsquo;m so sorry. C&rsquo;mon. Too much. Too late. Too much. It&rsquo;s too late but it&rsquo;s not too late for those that are in there.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:24px;">IDOC: Green&#39;s claims &#39;false&#39;</span></p><p dir="ltr">The Illinois Department of Corrections strongly disputes Green&rsquo;s version of events. IDOC spokesman Tom Shaer says privacy laws prevent him from defending the department&rsquo;s track record in the case of Green&rsquo;s husband, but, &ldquo;I can tell you that the claims made by the third party in this case, Ms. Green, are filled with false statements covering the time from inmate Smith&rsquo;s diagnosis in 1997 and his death 14 years later, after I believe, I&rsquo;m not sure, she married him while he was in prison. There are many false statements covering that time. I wish I could get into further specifics but I can&rsquo;t do that. She evidently can. We legally cannot,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:24px;">Medical director won&#39;t discuss care</span></p><p dir="ltr">The medical director for the Department of Corrections refused to discuss medical care, even in general terms, with WBEZ because of pending litigation. But there are always lawsuits pending. In fact, according to Shaer, there are 4,600 lawsuits against the Department of Corrections right now. Nonetheless, Shaer says citizens should be confident in the health care inside prisons.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Things happen in health system,&rdquo; said Shaer. &ldquo;If they happen here, when we investigate we find them and we take whatever action is appropriate. I&rsquo;m not saying that there was any such action appropriate in this individual&rsquo;s case, or any particular case. I am telling you that we do the same thing as hospitals do. We review our performance of our staff, our vendors and we take action when appropriate.&rdquo;</p><p>According to Bureau of Justice statistics, Illinois has one of the lowest inmate death rates in the country. Shaer says that&rsquo;s proof that Illinois is providing good care.</p><p>&ldquo;The total number of deaths, the overall issue with people dying in Illinois prisons is absolutely a non-story,&rdquo; said Shaer.</p><p><em>Reporting on deaths in Illinois prisons will continue throughout the week.</em></p><p><em>Patrick Smith contributed to this report. </em></p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img a="" alt="" and="" any="" at="" before="" care="" class="image-original_image" custody="" dramatically="" entering="" had="" have="" health="" hepatitis="" higher="" hiv="" idoc="" inmates="" issues="" many="" national="" not="" of="" or="" other="" percentage="" received="" regular="" serious="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/image (4).png" style="height: 487px; width: 620px;" than="" the="" title="*Source: WBEZ review of Illinois state prison death records for 2011 and 2012. **Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics report on mortality in local jails and state prisons, 2011. According to IDOC spokesman Tom Shaer: &quot;The 'young people' entering IDOC custody have a percentage of Hepatitis C, HIV and other serious health issues dramatically higher than the 'national average' and many inmates with serious health issues had not received regular health care (or any at all) before entering IDOC.&quot;" with="" young="" /></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 07 Jul 2014 23:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/natural-causes-death-illinois-prisons-110455 New vigor in Chicago for the war on drugs http://www.wbez.org/news/new-vigor-chicago-war-drugs-110343 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Heroin Operation map.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Drug enforcement officials are singing an old tune with renewed vigor as they fight the war on drugs.</p><p>&ldquo;Hey, it&rsquo;s another great day for the good guys in Chicago,&rdquo; said Jack Riley, standing at a podium surrounded by federal and local officials Thursday.</p><p>He was announcing the arrest of 27 people in connection with a heroin operation on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side.</p><p>Authorities say the heroin ring operated in a 12-block area just off the Eisenhower expressway near Douglas Park.</p><p>It&rsquo;s a popular location for kids from the western suburbs because they can buy heroin and then hop back on the highway.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/heroin-moves-chicago-suburbs-small-amounts-through-users-109326">How heroin moves to Chicago&#39;s suburbs</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>Riley says a new strike force with federal and local authorities sharing information gives him hope that they can make some headway in the decades old war on drugs.</p><p>&ldquo;And to the bad guys out there, hey, we&rsquo;re coming,&rdquo; said Riley. &ldquo;This is a marathon, not a sprint, we&rsquo;re in it for the long haul. We&rsquo;re gonna continue this fight, we&rsquo;re not going to let anybody down and it really makes a difference in the communities when we do things like this.&rdquo;</p><p>Chicago police say they&rsquo;ll continue to do undercover buys in the 12-block area even though many of the dealers in that area were arrested this week.</p><p>Al Wysinger is the first deputy superintendent of the Chicago Police Department and the top guy while Superintendent Garry McCarthy is on medical leave recovering from his heart attack.</p><p>He said they&rsquo;ll now saturate the area with officers and continue to make undercover drug buys, &ldquo;to ensure that,&nbsp; A, this gang doesn&rsquo;t come back and try to take over and B, that a new gang doesn&rsquo;t come in and try to take over and they try to start a turf war over this very same territory.&rdquo;</p><p>U.S. attorney Zach Fardon says no one in this case is charged with violence but he says these arrests are an important tool for reducing violence in Chicago.</p><p>He says shutting down this drug operation is going to improve life for the people living in the neighborhood.</p></p> Fri, 13 Jun 2014 11:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/new-vigor-chicago-war-drugs-110343 Cook County paying costs when CPD fails to register sex offenders http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-paying-costs-when-cpd-fails-register-sex-offenders-110262 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Amy-Campanelli.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Some Cook County public defenders say they&rsquo;re having to try cases in which sex offenders are charged with failure to register, even though they&rsquo;ve tried to do so. It means overburdened attorneys in an overburdened court system are having to deal with cases that shouldn&rsquo;t have been brought in the first place.</p><p>As WBEZ has been reporting, the criminal registration office at the Chicago Police Department is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/crowded-chicago-police-office-forces-sex-offenders-violate-parole-109798">regularly turning away people who are trying to register as sex offenders</a>&nbsp;because the office is too busy. Police records show the department&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-fail-register-sex-offenders-601-times-just-three-months-110236">turned men away 601 times in just the first three months of this year</a>.</p><p>Meaning those men can be arrested for failure to register, which results in incarceration costs, and court costs.</p><p>Amy Campanelli with the Cook County Public Defender&rsquo;s Office says the office has had to take a number of those cases to trial.</p><p>&ldquo;We have had successful jury trials and successful bench trials and sometimes we&rsquo;ve had success at convincing the prosecutor to drop the charges when we can prove that they actually did try to register and it wasn&rsquo;t a willful failure to register on the defendant&rsquo;s part,&rdquo; said Campanelli.</p><p>A spokesman for the Chicago Police Department said there are plans to expand the criminal registration office and construction should be completed by August.</p></p> Mon, 02 Jun 2014 08:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-paying-costs-when-cpd-fails-register-sex-offenders-110262 Chicago police fail to register sex offenders 601 times in just three months http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-fail-register-sex-offenders-601-times-just-three-months-110236 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Sex Registry Line_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated June 6, 6 p.m.</em></p><p>On February 13 of this year, Bruce Harley went to the Chicago Police Department Headquarters to register as a sex offender. He was one of 22 people who were turned away that day because the office was simply too busy. That&rsquo;s according to police records. A month later, on March 21, Bruce Harley was approached by Chicago police officers on the West Side of Chicago.</p><p>According to an arrest report, Harley wasn&rsquo;t doing anything illegal but was &ldquo;loitering in an area known for narcotic activity.&rdquo; Officers ran Harley&rsquo;s name and found he had failed to register. Harley told the officers he had tried to register on February 13 but had been turned away. He was arrested anyway and is now in the Cook County Jail, where it costs taxpayers $52,000 a year to house him.</p><p>I first heard about sex offenders being prevented from registering a few months ago.<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/crowded-chicago-police-office-forces-sex-offenders-violate-parole-109798"> I spent several days waiting in line with offenders</a> outside the criminal registration office at Chicago police headquarters. I couldn&rsquo;t believe it when officers came out of the office and told dozens of men who had been waiting for hours that they might as well go home because the office was too busy to register them all. Then the officers warned the men that they could be arrested for failing to register even though they&rsquo;d just waited for hours in line to do just that.</p><p>I went back several times and saw the same scenario play out.</p><p><strong>&#39;Setting people up to be violated&#39;</strong></p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s like they&rsquo;re purposely setting people up to be violated to go back to jail.&nbsp; You can&rsquo;t conclude nothing else but that,&rdquo; said Reggie White as he tried to help his brother register back in February.</p><p>Another frustrated man who just gave his name as Terry said, &ldquo;We&rsquo;re the guys that are trying to do the right thing. We&rsquo;re showing up here, we&rsquo;re trying to do the right thing; we&rsquo;re trying to follow the law to the letter of what&rsquo;s on that piece of paper and they turn us away and say, sorry, but you can still be arrested. Yeah, well, how are we supposed to feel?&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Police records detail the failure</strong></p><p>As officers turned offenders away, they wrote down the names of the offenders who had shown up. Using the Freedom of Information Act, WBEZ got copies of those lists. The lists have fields for name, date, time, several other things and then one space for &ldquo;reason for being turned away.&rdquo; In the first three months of this year the office turned people away 601 times, and in that space for the reason it put &ldquo;capacity.&rdquo;</p><p>In the first three months of this year the office turned people away 601 times and in that space for the reason it said, &ldquo;capacity.&rdquo; On some days, like January 14th for example, no one was turned away. But on February 14, 31 people were turned away because the office was at &ldquo;capacity.&rdquo; On March 4, 34 people were turned away; on&nbsp; the 5th, 27 people; on the 6th, 26 people.</p><p><strong>A semi-reluctant advocate</strong></p><p>&ldquo;These registrants try and follow the law. They try and report and register and fulfill their duties but the police department doesn&rsquo;t let them and the police department isn&rsquo;t fulfilling their responsibility to the public,&rdquo; said attorney Patrick Morrissey in a recent interview in the lobby of the Cook County criminal court building at 26th and California. He had just come from a hearing where he was representing a sex offender who is currently in the Cook County Jail for failing to register.</p><p>A year and a half ago Morrissey was in his law office when he got a call from a sex offender who was having trouble registering with the Chicago Police Department. Morrissey was outraged, though his boss, who happens to also be his dad, was not too interested in getting involved in the issue. Morrissey pushed ahead anyway.</p><p>&ldquo;By the City of Chicago refusing to register people and causing them to walk the streets unregistered subject to arrest, is unconscionable,&rdquo; said Morrissey. &ldquo;You know it doesn&rsquo;t only harm these people who have to register and who are subject to arrest, but it harms the public because it detracts from what this law is about, about keeping track of people.&rdquo;</p><p>It&rsquo;s also costly, not for the police department, but for the taxpayers who have to fund the county jail where it costs $52,000 a year to house inmates. Morrissey has a client who went to the Chicago police registration office and was turned away and then later arrested for failing to register.</p><p>&ldquo;He was in the Cook County Jail from about July of 2011 until April of 2014,&rdquo; said Morrissey. &ldquo;I think there&rsquo;s a lot of people who are currently in the Cook County Jail on a failure to register charge.&rdquo;</p><p>Morrissey is right. According to the Cook County Sheriff&rsquo;s office, on April 25 of this year, there were 190 people in the jail on failure to register charges.</p><p>One of them was Bruce Harley, the guy I mentioned at the top of the story, who wasn&rsquo;t doing anything illegal but was approached by police, and when they ran his name they found he had failed to register even though he&rsquo;d tried to register.</p><p>In another example of penny wise but pound foolish, on January 22, police records show that Jerome Sanders, a homeless man, was turned away from the registration office because, not surprisingly, he didn&rsquo;t have the hundred dollar fee sex offenders have to pay once a year. He was arrested less than two weeks later, February 3, for failure to register and is in the county jail, where he&rsquo;s costing taxpayers $143 a day.</p><p>Or take Larry Hill. He went to police headquarters March 4, 5, 6 and 7. The records show that each time the Chicago police refused to register him because they were too busy. Finally on March 10 he made it into the office and he was arrested because something called an investigative alert had been issued for him. The Chicago police had been looking for this guy and for a week he&rsquo;d been standing in a line outside CPD headquarters.</p><p><em>In the original version of this story we had one more example here of a man named Robert Mitchell who was turned away from the registration office because he was deaf and needed sign language assistance. According to Cook County records a Robert Mitchell was in jail in late April. WBEZ identified two dozen cases in which men who were turned away from CPD&rsquo;s registration office and later turned up in jail. WBEZ brought all those cases to CPD and repeatedly asked before our story aired for information and reaction to those cases, &nbsp;but got no information on the cases until several days after our story was published. The Chicago Police Department provided documents on only three cases. It did provide records showing that there are two Robert Mitchells and the one who was deaf, who was indeed turned away from the registration office, has not been arrested. He returned to the registration office and successfully registered. We regret the error. Over the last few months CPD has provided little information to WBEZ &nbsp;as we have sought to report on this story. &nbsp;CPD spokesperson Adam Collins has now promised an interview with the deputy chief in charge of the registration office.</em></p><p><strong>Little information and some misinformation from Chicago Police</strong></p><p>For several months WBEZ has repeatedly requested an interview with Police Supt. Garry McCarthy to have a substantive and thoughtful discussion about this complicated issue and for several months, he has refused, and he continues to refuse. Instead of insightful conversations we&rsquo;ve gotten dismissive emails. We&rsquo;ve also gotten written statements containing misleading information that minimizes the extent of the problem.</p><p>For example, in February, department spokesman Adam Collins sent us a 14-sentence statement saying the police department proactively sends the names of registrants who were turned away to the &ldquo;Illinois State Police so they know the individual came in to register and he or she should not be subject to arrest.&rdquo;</p><p>According to Tracie Newton with the Illinois State Police, which maintains the sex offender registration, that list from CPD is absolutely useless. Newton says CPD just started sending lists over one day without any discussion or explanation and there&rsquo;s nothing in the statutes that allows the state police to do anything with the lists.</p><p>This past week, Collins sent another email statement saying the department is expanding the registration office and construction should be done by August. Collins provided no details about how much the project will cost or whether there will be additional officers detailed to that section. He also provided no explanation for the hundreds of men that have been turned away from the registration office and have been arrested or are subject to arrest.</p></p> Wed, 28 May 2014 05:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-fail-register-sex-offenders-601-times-just-three-months-110236 Civil rights case has tiny payout but big implications for Chicago police http://www.wbez.org/news/civil-rights-case-has-tiny-payout-big-implications-chicago-police-110122 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Fields-Nathson-Horizontal.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When he got back home from court Thursday, Nathson Fields sat at his dining room table, with his elbow on the glass tabletop and his forehead resting on his hand, trying to figure out what went wrong, why the jury in his civil suit awarded him only $80,000 dollars after he spent 18 years in prison.</p><p>&ldquo;I told them about how death row was,&rdquo; said Fields, looking both glum and perplexed. &ldquo;And I told them how I watched men who I became to know, walk to their execution, and walk past my cell, and being locked in a cell twenty-three hours a day for twelve years and say it&rsquo;s only worth 80 thousand dollars, to me that is a travesty.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>The bribe-taking judge</strong></p><p>In 1984, two men were gunned down in a housing project at 706 East 39th Street on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side. Fields was charged in the double murder along with Earl Hawkins. Hawkins paid the judge in the case $10, 000 to find them not-guilty. The judge took the money but then feared, rightly, that the FBI was watching him, so he gave the bribe back and found Fields and Hawkins guilty and sent them to death row.</p><p>In 1993 Judge Thomas Maloney was found guilty of taking bribes in murder cases, including in the Fields/Hawkins case. Fields won a retrial, and in 2009 he was found not guilty.</p><p>That paved the way for a civil lawsuit that has played out in a federal courtroom over the last three weeks-- in which Fields claimed Chicago cops framed him for a murder he didn&rsquo;t commit. But that 2009 retrial where he was found not guilty, that meant prosecutors couldn&rsquo;t prove Fields guilty beyond a reasonable doubt 25 years after the murder. It wasn&rsquo;t a finding of innocence, and the jury in the civil trial this last couple weeks didn&rsquo;t seem to think Fields was innocent.</p><p><strong>City says police got the right guy</strong></p><p>Lawyers for the City of Chicago argued that cops didn&rsquo;t frame Fields because he was actually one of the shooters.</p><p>Len Goodman represents Fields.</p><p>&ldquo;During the trial they threw a lot of mud at our client and a lot of it stuck,&rdquo; said Fields&rsquo; attorney Len Goodman after the jury gave his client just $80,000.</p><p>Lawyers for the city told jurors about Fields&rsquo; lengthy criminal history. He did time for a 1971 murder where he was part of a fight in which a friend of his killed a rival gang member. City attorneys talked about Fields&rsquo; role in the El Rukns, a notorious street gang, and they asked Fields on the stand about the time he was arrested in a car in which police also found a gun, a Tec-9.</p><p>There was also testimony from a witness to the 1984 double murder who pointed at Fields and said he was the shooter, and an El Rukn enforcer who has admitted participating in a score of murders said he committed that shooting with Fields.</p><p>&ldquo;Basically what their defense was, well, he&rsquo;s a bad guy, he&rsquo;s a gang member, he&rsquo;s an El Rukn, he mighta done it anyway, he probably did something else,&rdquo; said Goodman. &ldquo;So don&rsquo;t give him any compensation and that was basically their tactic and it was obviously somewhat effective but not completely.&rdquo;</p><p>The jury did find that Chicago police sergeant David O&rsquo;Callaghan violated Fields&rsquo; due process rights. It&rsquo;s unclear exactly what the jury was relying on to make that decision, but as one possible example, a witness to the double homicide in 1984 said he told police that he didn&rsquo;t see the shooters but police pushed him to identify Nathson Fields anyway.</p><p><strong>Fields is potentially start of a deluge of street-file-related cases</strong></p><p>Beyond specific violations by one officer, the Fields&rsquo; case shed light on something that extends to potentially thousands of cases. Attorneys proved that Chicago police continued to maintain so-called street files long after a department special order prohibited the practice in 1983.</p><p>Jon Loevy is a civil rights attorney who often sues over police misconduct and is currently suing the department over the issue of street files.</p><p>&ldquo;You know the way it played out, if you&rsquo;re accused of a murder, say, they give you the official file, and I&rsquo;ve done a lot of this work so I&rsquo;ve seen a lot of these files and in the official file are all the evidence, and witnesses and documents that point at you, the stuff that makes you look guilty,&rdquo; said Loevy. &ldquo;But what&rsquo;s not in the file is the stuff that points at other suspects, or stuff that might help your defense.&rdquo;</p><p>The street file contains all the notes made by detectives as they investigate murders. All those notes are supposed to be included in the main investigative file that goes to prosecutors and defense attorneys, but Fields&rsquo; case shows that those notes aren&rsquo;t always turned over. Some of the material in Fields&rsquo; street file points to other suspects and the file wasn&rsquo;t handed over until 2011, after Fields had been tried twice. By law, his attorneys in his first trial for the double murder should have had the exculpatory information that pointed to other suspects.</p><p>&ldquo;Well you know the police officers are not the judge and they&rsquo;re not the jury and their job is to gather the facts and turn the facts over to the state&rsquo;s attorney who gives them to the criminal defense attorney,&rdquo; said Loevy. &ldquo;It is a problem if the police overstep their role and make their own decision about what the criminal defendants should get because the rule is they&rsquo;re supposed to get everything.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Police testify they&rsquo;ve done little to nothing to investigate further</strong></p><p>In Fields&rsquo; civil trial several Chicago police commanders and detectives testified that they didn&rsquo;t know why Fields&rsquo; street file wasn&rsquo;t turned over for two and a half decades. And they didn&rsquo;t know how it was found, or who found it or when. But Fields&rsquo; file was just one in a large filing cabinet filled with hundreds of other files dating back to 1944. And that filing cabinet was just one of 20 in the basement of the police department&rsquo;s area central headquarters.</p><p>&ldquo;There is sitting in the police basement hundreds if not thousands of files that criminal defendants accused of crimes have never seen and Fields&rsquo; file was one among those hundreds if not thousands of files, and in Fields&rsquo; file when it finally surfaced was a bunch of exculpatory information. It remains to be determined whether the other files in those street file cabinets also contain exculpatory information. Some of them presumably don&rsquo;t but some of them presumably do and in at least some of those cases men are innocent that are in prison for crime they didn&rsquo;t commit and the evidence that could help them show their innocence is in those file cabinets,&rdquo; said Loevy.</p><p>In one lawsuit against the city Loevy is asking a judge to let him go through the files to see what&rsquo;s there.</p><p>The police don&rsquo;t seem terribly curious about what&rsquo;s in the cabinets. On the stand in the Fields trial several current police department personnel testified that they hadn&rsquo;t done any investigating as to what might be in the other files next to Fields&rsquo; long-lost street file.</p><p>Thursday I called police department spokesman Adam Collins to ask what was happening with the files and was anyone reviewing them?</p><p>Despite the high profile nature of the Fields case and the street file issue, Collins could not provide any information.</p></p> Fri, 02 May 2014 07:37:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/civil-rights-case-has-tiny-payout-big-implications-chicago-police-110122 Chicagoans nearly 6 times more likely to be shot by police than New Yorkers are http://www.wbez.org/news/chicagoans-nearly-6-times-more-likely-be-shot-police-new-yorkers-are-110117 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Ortiz%20Glaze%20Bullet%20hole.JPG" style="float: left; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" title="Ortiz Glaze looks at where a bullet left his arm when he was shot by Chicago Police. (WBEZ/Robert Wildeboer)" />On April 30 last year Ortiz Glaze says he was barbecuing with friends, neighbors and church members when police cars rode up. He says he&rsquo;s not sure what happened but an officer got out of a car and shot into the air.</p><p>&ldquo;Oh, when I heard the gunshot, the first shot, my first motion was to run,&rdquo; said Glaze.</p><p>Glaze says while he was running away from officers he was shot in the back of the leg and the back of the arm. He&rsquo;s now suing police. Glaze&rsquo;s attorney Russell Ainsworth says Glaze didn&rsquo;t have a gun, has no criminal record and he stresses Glaze was running away from police. Ainsworth says this is part of a pattern in Chicago.</p><p>Chicagoans are nearly 6 times more likely to be shot by police than residents of New York City. Here&rsquo;s the math:</p><p>New York City has 8.3 million people. Chicago is a little less than a third of that size with 2.7 million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.</p><br /><p>Nonetheless, in 2012, police here shot 57 people, while police in New York shot 30 people.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="281" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="http://cf.datawrapper.de/AOxNk/1/" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="620"></iframe></p><p>&ldquo;What&rsquo;s different about Chicago that causes their police officers to shoot more people than anywhere else?&rdquo; Ainsworth asked reporters Wednesday.&nbsp; &ldquo;Well, part of the allegations in the complaint is that the system that Chicago has in place to prevent abuses like this is broken.&rdquo;</p><p>The Independent Police Review Authority was established in 2007 to investigate Chicago police shootings. According to a spokesman, the seven-year-old agency has never found a police shooting unjustified. Not once.</p><p>Ainsworth says that sends a message to police officers that they don&rsquo;t have to worry about the consequences of shootings.</p><p>The Chicago Police Department did not comment on this story despite several requests.</p></p> Thu, 01 May 2014 10:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicagoans-nearly-6-times-more-likely-be-shot-police-new-yorkers-are-110117 McCarthy dismissive of crime research http://www.wbez.org/news/mccarthy-dismissive-crime-research-110026 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS3567_Police Supt. Garry McCarthy and Anita Alvarez_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In the wake of a violent weekend Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy is picking up an old talking point.</p><p>According to the Chicago police there were 26 shooting incidents this weekend, leaving 32 victims. Three people died from their wounds.</p><p>McCarthy says Illinois needs tougher gun laws, including mandatory minimum sentences for people caught carrying illegal guns.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve had this conversation,&rdquo; McCarthy said at a press conference Monday. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve been having this conversation since I got here.&rdquo;</p><p>Crime researchers say there&rsquo;s no evidence to suggest that mandatory minimums reduce gun violence,&nbsp; but they say there&rsquo;s evidence that additional police officers would bring down violence.</p><p>McCarthy&rsquo;s response: &ldquo;Research is research, right?&nbsp; And you can make an argument any which way you want to based on what data says.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s real simple.&nbsp; If you don&rsquo;t go to jail for gun possession you continue to carry guns.&nbsp; You continue to carry guns, people get shot.&rdquo;</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel was unable to push the mandatory minimums bill through the legislature last year. The sponsor, Rep. Mike Zalewski, a Democrat,&nbsp; has said he plans to make another push,&nbsp; though there&rsquo;s no movement on the bill right now.</p></p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/mccarthy-dismissive-crime-research-110026 Crowded Chicago Police office forces sex offenders to violate parole http://www.wbez.org/news/crowded-chicago-police-office-forces-sex-offenders-violate-parole-109798 <p><p dir="ltr">The Chicago Police Department forces sex offenders to violate their parole. I know that sounds crazy. I thought it was crazy when I first heard about it, but I&rsquo;ve spent a lot of time in the last two weeks with sex offenders waiting -- for hours and hours -- outside police headquarters and watching a Kafkaesque process play out.</p><p dir="ltr">Every morning sex offenders start lining up at 6, while it&rsquo;s still dark out, sometimes even earlier than that, and I probably don&rsquo;t have to remind you how cold it&rsquo;s been this winter. Tracy Wright was one of a couple dozen men on a recent morning.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s freezing out here,&rdquo; said Wright. &ldquo;Man, I had frost bites today. Somebody gave me some gloves to put on my hands.&rdquo;</p><p>It&rsquo;s often like this, with the men stomping their feet on the cold concrete, trying to stay warm. For some reason, there&rsquo;s no waiting room. A small vestibule acts as a makeshift waiting room but there are 20 guys stuck outside. By 10:30 a.m. all of the men are cold and frustrated. &ldquo;I been here since 7 o&rsquo;clock waiting in line trying to see these people to keep me from being locked up,&rdquo; said Wright.</p><p><strong>Ambulance needed</strong></p><p dir="ltr">On this morning an ambulance was called for one of the men because he had numbness in his feet. After that, the men were allowed to wait in the main lobby of police headquarters but that&rsquo;s the exception to the rule.</p><p>People convicted as sex offenders have to register once a year. It basically means they have to go to the police department registration office and update their personal info and show proof of their current address. And if they move, they have to go back to re-register within three days. If they enroll in school they have to re-register within three days. If they change jobs they have to re-register within three days.</p><p>There are a lot of requirements and in Chicago, and they can be nearly impossible to meet, not because the offenders don&rsquo;t want to meet them but because of the way the Chicago Police Department runs the registration office.</p><p>When I met Wright in line it was his third time trying to get in the office to register. &ldquo;Every time we come here they have us standing in this line out here in this cold,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Wright was turned away the other two days because the office doesn&rsquo;t have the capacity to process all the sex offenders who show up to register, and Wright&rsquo;s worried the same thing is going to happen again. &ldquo;At 12 o&rsquo;clock they&rsquo;ll cut the line, they&rsquo;ll stop the line and tell us to come back tomorrow but I been standing out here already four to five hours,&rdquo; said Wright.</p><p><b>Go home, but you can still be arrested</b></p><p dir="ltr">Sure enough, an hour later, at 11:45 a.m., &nbsp;a man comes out of the registry office and tells Wright and the two dozen other men who have been waiting in the cold all morning, that they won&rsquo;t be able to register today. But then it gets weirder. The police department employee tells the men they can sign a list that will prove they showed up today to register but then he tells them that even if they&rsquo;re on the list, they can still be arrested for failing to register.</p><p>In a written statement, Adam Collins, a spokesman for the Chicago Police, said the list is collected and the department &ldquo;proactively sends their names to Illinois State Police &hellip; to minimize any potential criminal registration problems for the individuals.&rdquo;</p><p>Of course letting the men actually register would be an even more effective way to minimize registration problems. For clarity, I asked Collins several times, aren&rsquo;t the men at risk of being arrested? He simply resent a portion of his written statement.</p><p>For the offenders being turned away every day -- sometimes 10, 20, or even more of them -- the message they&rsquo;re getting is that the department prefers to risk their arrest rather than process this paperwork more quickly.</p><p><strong>Violating registration rules can mean prison</strong></p><p dir="ltr">The men are nervous and they have good reason. According to the Illinois Department of Corrections there are currently 841 people in prison for violating registration requirements.</p><p>&ldquo;You know, I think we&rsquo;re caught up in the machine,&rdquo; said Terry as he walked away from police headquarters after being told he wouldn&rsquo;t be able to register. Terry didn&rsquo;t want to give his last name. He says he&rsquo;s trying to fulfill the registration requirements and get on with his life, which includes a job in sales that he&rsquo;s missing so he can stand in line. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re the guys that are trying to do the right thing. We&rsquo;re showing up here, we&rsquo;re trying to do the right thing we&rsquo;re trying to follow the law to the letter of what&rsquo;s on that piece of paper and they turn us away and say sorry, but you can still be arrested. Yeah, well, how are we supposed to feel?&rdquo; he asked.</p><p>After most of the men have left William White is still sitting in his wheel chair outside the registry office. I saw him arrive before noon but that was too late and now he&rsquo;s locked outside in the cold in a T-shirt and a light jacket. He has one leg. Because of that he had to get a ride from his brother Reggie and he&rsquo;s waiting for his brother to pick him up. When Reggie shows up he can&rsquo;t believe his brother couldn&rsquo;t register because there&rsquo;s a sign on the locked door that says the office is open till 3.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not even one o&rsquo;clock yet! Five minutes to one,&rdquo; said White.</p><p>&ldquo;This is horrible. It&rsquo;s like they&rsquo;re purposely setting people up to be violated to go back to jail. You can&rsquo;t conclude nothing else but that. And they came out, they didn&rsquo;t even have any sympathy, his limb is missing. They didn&rsquo;t even care, you know? So they won&rsquo;t even see you or anything, won&rsquo;t register you or nothing. They told him to come back Tuesday but I have to work and I won&rsquo;t be able to bring him Tuesday,&rdquo; said White.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Sex Registry Sign.JPG" style="height: 214px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="CPD spokesman Adam Collins says the criminal registry office is open standard business hours, but a sign on the door tells a different story. Sex offenders who show up when they’re supposed to show up often find the door locked. They end up leaving angry and confused and concerned that they’ll be arrested for failing to register. (WBEZ/Robert Wildeboer)" /></div><p>In a written statement police spokesman Adam Collins insisted the office is open standard business hours. That&rsquo;s not what I saw. In fact while I talk to Reggie White and his brother a young man walks up and pulls on the locked door. White shouts over to him, &ldquo;They not taking anybody else.&rdquo;</p><p>After a short conversation the young man walks away mystified and angry. I saw a lot of men arrive in the afternoon, when the office is advertised as being open. They all found a locked door and got no explanation.</p><p><strong>Increased registration, says CPD</strong></p><p>CPD spokesman Collins says there&rsquo;s been an increase in registrations in the last two years. He says they&rsquo;ve detailed additional officers to the criminal registration section and they are in the planning stage of an expansion of the office to accommodate additional personnel, but he didn&rsquo;t provide any details about a timeline despite our request. He also didn&rsquo;t answer questions on whether there are plans for a waiting room.</p><p>The whole process is especially frustrating for men who have jobs and are trying to keep their lives on track, like Byron Williams. He says he&rsquo;s shown up to this office 8 or 9 times in the last couple weeks, a not uncommon story. Williams is a security guard and his boss is letting him work the night shift right now so he can stand in line during the day, but he doesn&rsquo;t get off the night shift till 6 a.m. so he&rsquo;s not getting in line early enough. He hasn&rsquo;t been able to register.</p><p>&ldquo;My boss is like, okay you need to make something happen, but every time I get up to close by they cut it off and say we can&rsquo;t register, you got to come back the next day. I&rsquo;m explaining that to my boss and he&rsquo;s understanding but he&rsquo;s not understanding and I&rsquo;m at risk of losing my job and you know how hard it is for a sex offender to find a job?&rdquo; said Williams.</p><p>Given the weather at the end of last week, Williams decided he wasn&rsquo;t going to stand out in the cold again and waste his time. However, Monday is his last day to register before he&rsquo;s in violation. He says he&rsquo;ll be in line again, to give it another try.</p></p> Mon, 03 Mar 2014 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/crowded-chicago-police-office-forces-sex-offenders-violate-parole-109798