WBEZ | aclu http://www.wbez.org/tags/aclu Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Police step up patrols in St. Louis over string of church fires http://www.wbez.org/news/police-step-patrols-st-louis-over-string-church-fires-113451 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/The Newlife Missionary Baptist Church in north St. Louis as it sits with the front burned on Tuesday. A fire damaged the front doors, siding and an entrance to the small predominantly Africian-American church..jpg" alt="" /><p><div><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="The Newlife Missionary Baptist Church in north St. Louis as it sits with the front burned on Tuesday. A fire damaged the front doors, siding and an entrance to the small predominantly Africian-American church." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/21/62322141_h40244458_custom-ed6da956ba86225481680e843e0423b70890b7ea-s600-c85.jpg" title="The Newlife Missionary Baptist Church in north St. Louis as it sits with the front burned on Tuesday. A fire damaged the front doors, siding and an entrance to the small predominantly African-American church. (Bill Greenblatt/UPI /Landov)" /></div><div><div><p>Police in St. Louis have stepped up patrols after six churches in predominantly black neighborhoods were set on fire this month.</p></div></div></div><p><a href="http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/local-federal-investigators-probe-6-arsons-black-churches-10-days">As St. Louis Public Radio has reported</a>, the cases, which are being investigated by local and federal authorities, are being treated as arson. St. Louis Public Radio reports that the fires have been started when the churches are empty and when the &quot;arsonist lit exterior doors on fire.&quot;</p><p><a href="http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/st-louis-police-add-patrols-trying-to-crack-string-of/article_26d2eb76-f517-5394-9a21-f31ccfdc024a.html">The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports</a>:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri and the Anti-Defamation League suggested a racial motive may be at play. In a prepared statement, the ACLU of Missouri&#39;s executive director, Jeffrey Mittman, called the fires &#39;domestic terrorism.&#39;</em></p><p><em>&quot;&#39;It is a sad truth that, throughout our nation&#39;s history, African-Americans often have been met with astounding violence when they demand equality,&#39; he wrote. &#39;Those who commit this violence seek to instill fear. This is why arson against predominantly black churches has been a frequent tool of white supremacy.&#39;</em></p><p><em>&quot;But Dotson said investigators have yet to confirm that race was the motive. If race or religion proves to be the reason, he said, police will seek to have the incidents prosecuted as hate crimes.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p><a href="http://kplr11.com/2015/10/20/st-louis-religious-leaders-call-for-fires-to-stop-forgive-church-arsonist/">KPLR-TV reports&nbsp;</a>that authorities are offering a $4,000 reward for information that leads to the suspects.</p><p>The station adds:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;In statements Tuesday, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and Attorney General Chris Koster condemned the recent church fires in north St. Louis City and County.</em></p><p><em>&quot;Nixon said, &#39;These cowardly acts of violence against places of worship are deeply troubling. Houses of worship must be safe havens where people can come together in faith and fellowship &ndash; not the targets of hate and violence. The Missouri State Highway Patrol has been in contact with local and federal authorities and is ready to assist in the investigation of these crimes.&#39;</em></p><p><em>&quot;Koster said, &#39;A house of worship should be a place of peace and refuge. These targeted acts of arson strike at the heart of St. Louis by attacking its sanctuaries. The perpetrators must be found and brought to justice.&#39;&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/10/21/450581516/police-step-up-patrols-in-st-louis-over-string-of-church-fires?ft=nprml&amp;f=450581516" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Wed, 21 Oct 2015 14:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/police-step-patrols-st-louis-over-string-church-fires-113451 Deal allows independent stop-and-frisk evaluations of CPD http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-07/deal-allows-independent-stop-and-frisk-evaluations-cpd-112592 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/stopandfrisk FlickrMichael Gil.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Under Chicago law, police can pat down &mdash; or frisk &mdash; anyone they stop on the street. But according to the American Civil Liberties Union, most of those stopped and frisked have been African American males...and that looks a lot like racial profiling.</p><p>The Chicago Police Department has said it does not allow racial profiling. Nonetheless, the CPD has agreed to make changes to its policy after an ACLU investigation raised questions about the legality of certain police stops. As part of an agreement announced Friday morning between the ACLU and the police department, there will be an independent evaluation of CPD&rsquo;s practices and procedures. There will also be more transparency and public disclosure when it comes to police stops, as well as additional training for officers.</p><p>We speak with Harvey Grossman, legal director for the ACLU&rsquo;s chapter here in Illinois, about the deal, and why it was needed in the first place.&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 07 Aug 2015 11:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-07/deal-allows-independent-stop-and-frisk-evaluations-cpd-112592 Gay journalist battles Boy Scouts in court for 18 years http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/gay-journalist-battles-boy-scouts-court-18-years-110793 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/StoryCorps 140905 Noel Tim bh.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Growing up in Berkeley, California in the 1970s, Tim Curran loved camping. When his best friend joined the Boy Scouts, Curran signed up too. He rose up through the ranks, achieving scouting&rsquo;s highest honor, Eagle Scout, during high school.</p><p>Curran, who is gay, came out when he was a teenager. His troop was supportive of him. But after his senior year, he was featured in a newspaper story with his prom date, who was also male. And the newspaper found its way into the hands of some higher-ups within the Boy Scouts, who decided to take action against Curran.</p><p>These days Curran works as a journalist with CNN, but three decades ago, he found himself in a very different position, as the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America. Curran was in Chicago recently for a convention of the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association, when he stopped by the StoryCorps booth with his partner, Noel Parks.</p><p>Curran was a freshman at UCLA, when he got a letter at his dorm. &ldquo;I opened it up and it was from the council executive, the head guy of the local scout council, the Mt. Diablo Council. And it said, &lsquo;Your application to attend the national jamboree is rejected. And we need to have a conversation about your future participation with scouting.&rsquo;</p><p>So I called the council executive from my dorm room and I said does this have something to do with the article in the [Oakland] Tribune? Does this have something to do with the fact that I&rsquo;m gay?&rdquo;</p><p>And he sort of hemmed and hawed and said &ldquo;Well, yes, and we can talk about it at Thanksgiving.&rdquo;</p><p>So that&rsquo;s what happened. My mother and my stepfather [and my troop leader] and I met with this council executive guy over Thanksgiving vacation and we had this lengthy conversation the gist of which was, &ldquo;Do you still espouse homosexuality?&rdquo; And I said: &ldquo;If by that are you asking whether I&rsquo;m still gay, the answer is yes.&rdquo;</p><p>And he said, &ldquo;Scouting does not believe that you have the moral qualifications to be a leader. And so we are revoking your registration in scouting, we&rsquo;re revoking your registration in your troop.&rdquo; And he said knowing that my troop knew that I was gay and was perfectly happy to have me. So that was the end of that.</p><p>I just remember shaking with anger at the injustice of it, but also sort of impotent to do anything about it. But also knowing that you&rsquo;re talking with this guy, it&rsquo;s a civilized conversation and you just have to keep cool and act like a scout would act.</p><p>And so in April of 1981, we filed suit against the Boy Scouts of America. We meaning myself and the ACLU of Southern California.<br />It was a trial with testimony, and both sides, my friends in scouting getting on the stand and me getting on the stand, and the council executive, all testifying.</p><p>And the judge at the trial ruled against us, so we appealed. And 18 years almost to the day after we filed that suit, I lost.</p><p>But I have to say that I think it&rsquo;s very much made me a better journalist.</p><p>Because unlike nearly all of the people I&rsquo;ve ever worked with in journalism, I know what it&rsquo;s like to be on the other side of the mic.<br />I volunteered for that. But it has very much informed the way that I treat others and the way that I concern myself with accuracy. Because I heard my story misreported a million times, and knew how the little details could be gotten wrong. And so I really struggled &ndash; much to the annoyance of my editors - to get those details, the nuances right, even though sometimes it takes more time to tell a story that way.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 15:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/gay-journalist-battles-boy-scouts-court-18-years-110793 Morning Shift: The lessons of Marriage 101 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-03-18/morning-shift-lessons-marriage-101-109873 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/marriage 101 Cover Flickr Paul-W.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We talk to the professor of a unique class at Northwestern University - Marriage 101. Plus, the past and future of Chicago&#39;s New Regal Theater.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-lessons-of-marriage-101/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-lessons-of-marriage-101.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-lessons-of-marriage-101" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: The lessons of Marriage 101" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Tue, 18 Mar 2014 08:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-03-18/morning-shift-lessons-marriage-101-109873 Judge allows same-sex couples to marry in Cook County starting now http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/judge-allows-same-sex-couples-marry-cook-county-starting-now-109751 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP935573141163.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A federal judge is allowing same-sex couples to get married in Cook County, starting immediately.</p><p>Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman&rsquo;s ruling, issued this morning, applies only to Cook County, Illinois&rsquo; most populous county, which includes the city of Chicago.</p><p>Coleman&rsquo;s written order says couples should not have to wait for a state law, passed last year, to go into effect. The measure passed by the legislature and signed by Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn set June 1 as the date on which same-sex couples could legally marry in Illinois.</p><p>Coleman wrote, &ldquo;Committed gay and lesbian couples have already suffered from the denial of their fundamental right to marry.&rdquo;</p><p>She also quoted Martin Luther King, Jr. writing, &ldquo;The time is always ripe to do right.&rdquo;</p><p>The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and Lambda Legal filed the lawsuit against the Cook County Clerk on behalf of a handful of same-sex couples seeking the right to marry immediately.</p><p>County Clerk David Orr was the state officer formally listed as the defendant. But because Orr supports same-sex marriage, there was no opposition to the lawsuit, and he moved promptly to announce and put the order into effect.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re thrilled that Judge Coleman recognized the serious harm to the many Illinois families from continuing to deny them the freedom to marry,&rdquo; said John Knight, LGBT and AIDS Project Director for the ACLU of Illinois. &ldquo;The U.S. Constitution guarantees these families the personal and emotional benefits as well as the critical legal protections of marriage now, and we are thankful that the court extended this dignity to couples immediately.&rdquo;</p><p>Couples in Cook County must wait a day after getting a license before they can be married.</p><p>Meantime, county clerks in the rest of Illinois are waiting to see if the ruling applies to them as well. Coleman wrote in her ruling, &ldquo;Although this Court finds that the marriage ban for same-sex couples violates the Fourteenth Amendment&rsquo;s Equal Protection Clause on its face, this finding can only apply to Cook County based upon the posture of the lawsuit.&rdquo;</p><p>Katherine Schultz -- clerk of McHenry County in Chicago&rsquo;s outer northwest suburbs -- said she&rsquo;s waiting for June 1 to issue marriage licenses until told specifically otherwise.</p><p>&ldquo;Until there is something more definite given to McHenry County, and I would assume other outlying counties, we will go by what the state statute says,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Schultz said that even if she were ordered to start granting marriage licenses to gay couples, she doesn&rsquo;t have the right state forms yet.</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Alex Keefe covers politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/akeefe">@akeefe</a>.</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 21 Feb 2014 12:16:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/judge-allows-same-sex-couples-marry-cook-county-starting-now-109751 Poor data keeps Chicago's stop and frisk hidden from scrutiny http://www.wbez.org/news/poor-data-keeps-chicagos-stop-and-frisk-hidden-scrutiny-108670 <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/Topper_0.jpg" title="The 900 west block of Belmont Avenue has the most contact cards issued in the 19th District in 2013. The area near the Belmont Red Line stop netted 728 logged encounters with police until June. Regular robberies in the area have prompted police to step up efforts to stop suspicious persons. (WBEZ/Elliott Ramos)" /></div><p>In Chicago, stop and frisk is alive and well &ndash; but relatively unchecked.</p><p>Encounters with Chicago police officers often begin with a little-known form called a contact card. The card logs everything from a voluntary conversation with a citizen to an involuntary stop of someone deemed suspicious. When necessary, this can result in a stop and frisk.</p><p>While the contact form is used for so much police work, the details contained within them are unruly &ndash; and near impossible to obtain in volume.</p><p>Last month a federal judge ruled against the New York Police Department, ruling its much maligned stop and frisk procedure, a system of conducting investigatory stops and searches, violated the constitutional rights of minorities.</p><p>According to Judge Shira Scheindlin&rsquo;s ruling, the NYPD conducted 4.4 million stops between 2004 and 2012, 52 percent of which resulted in a stop and frisk.</p><p>The program is not unique to New York, but is a police tactic utilized throughout the U.S., including Chicago. The <em>Terry</em> stops, as they&rsquo;re referred to here, are the detention of persons who warrant suspicion of a crime. Only when the stop escalates to a pat down for weapons, used as a safety precaution, does it become a &ldquo;stop and frisk.&rdquo;</p><p>But how many of these stops have occurred in Chicago? And are we having the same problems with race that New York identified? &nbsp;</p><table align="right" border="0" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1" style="margin-left: 15px; margin-top: 15px; margin-bottom: 15px;width: 620px;height: 580px"><tbody><tr><td><p><strong>ACLU&#39;s narrative samples </strong><br /><span style="font-size:10px;"><em>The ACLU of Illinois obtained a sampling of some of Chicago&#39;s contact card narratives, with redactions of private information. The <a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/167926728/ACLU-ContactCardSamples">full sampling can be found here</a>, and the full <a href="http://www.aclu-il.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Letter-to-Emanuel-Patton-McCarthy-1-15-13.pdf">documentation here,</a> courtesy of the ACLU of Illinois.</em></span></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><img src="//cdn.thinglink.me/api/image/435093311863128064/1024/10/scaletowidth#tl-435093311863128064;1043138249" style="max-width:100%" /><script async charset="utf-8" src="//cdn.thinglink.me/jse/embed.js"></script></p></td></tr></tbody></table><p>The true answer is nobody really knows, and under current Police Department reporting guidelines, getting a historical breakdown of Chicagoans subjected to a frisk is not easy.</p><p>&ldquo;This is the strongest exercise of police power short of an arrest,&rdquo; said Harvey Grossman, legal director of the ACLU of Illinois.</p><p>His group has been intimately familiar with the inner workings of stop and frisk in Chicago. In 2003, the ACLU <a href="https://www.aclu.org/racial-justice_prisoners-rights_drug-law-reform_immigrants-rights/aclu-il-files-lawsuit-charging-ill">sued the city</a> on behalf of Olympic speed skater and Chicago native, Shani Davis, and two others, claiming that they were unfairly targeted for street stops and searches.</p><p>Before that, the ACLU fought and won a Supreme Court case against the city. That case, <em><a href="http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/97-1121.ZS.html">Chicago v. Jesus Morales</a>, </em>challenged the city&rsquo;s anti-gang loitering ordinance, which the court found to be too vague and gave law enforcement too much power in defining loitering as remaining &ldquo;in any one place with no apparent purpose.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;There is no external check on stop and frisk,&rdquo; Grossman said.</p><p>In January of this year, the ACLU <a href="http://www.aclu-il.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Letter-to-Emanuel-Patton-McCarthy-1-15-13.pdf">drafted a memo to the city,</a> addressed to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, corporation counsel Steve Patton, and Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy.</p><p>In it, the ACLU outlined efforts to unearth Chicago&rsquo;s stop and frisk data, and formally requested that the city create a publicly-accessible database specific to monitoring the police department&rsquo;s stop and frisks.</p><p>In the New York ruling, the judge cited figures about the demographics of those stopped by police that are &ldquo;uncontested,&rdquo; utilizing the NYPD&rsquo;s own data from reports officers filled out. That data was aggregated from a form called a <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/downloads/pdf/public_information/TR534_FINALCompiled.pdf">UF-250</a>. This allowed outside organizations such as the New York Civil Liberties Union to aggregate and analyze long-term trends, and even <a href="http://www.nyclu.org/content/nypd-quarterly-reports">publish quarterly reports</a>.</p><p>No such database exists for Chicago.</p><p>While Chicago gets credited for publishing one of the <a href="https://data.cityofchicago.org/Public-Safety/Crimes-2001-to-present/ijzp-q8t2">most extensive crime databases </a>in the country via the city&rsquo;s data portal, it doesn&rsquo;t have an electronic database of the stop and frisks performed. And the method of recording them is so opaque, the public and media cannot easily assess how many are done, who they&rsquo;re done to, and what motivated an officer to stop a person in the first place.</p><p>The Chicago Police Department&rsquo;s method of recording a stop and frisk is within a contact card. A contact card provides &ldquo;a means for sworn members to document encounters with citizens that may serve a useful police purpose but do not otherwise require any written reports,&rdquo; <a href="http://directives.chicagopolice.org/directives/data/a7a57be2-12a864e6-91c12-a864-e985efd125ff521f.html">according to the police department&rsquo;s Special Order S04-13-09</a>. This is not to be confused with a crime incident report, which is generated when a crime is reported, or arrest report, which is generated when police take a person into custody.</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/inline2.jpg" style="float: left;" title="Police officers patrol a busy part of Clark Street on a Saturday night. The Wrigleyville neighborhood is part of the CPD's 19th district and the area near the ball park is defined as beat 1924." /></div><p>The police department says contact cards are a part of more active neighborhood policing. Adam Collins is the director of news affairs for the Chicago Police Department.</p><p>&ldquo;In recent years the Chicago Police Department has undertaken a return to community policing and part of that effort is ensuring that officers get out of their cars and interact with members of the community,&rdquo; Collins said.</p><p>&ldquo;Those interactions, if they are a voluntary encounter or an investigatory stop, may be documented in contact cards,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Because there are more interactions, many of which are voluntary encounters, there are more contact cards, which again are merely a way of documenting those interactions. For circumstances resulting in arrests a contact card is not prepared.&rdquo;</p><p>The cards can be used to log a response to a complaint that didn&rsquo;t result in a crime incident report, voluntary interactions with a citizen, search warrants and traffic stops.</p><p>The data gets archived and maintained by the CPD&rsquo;s director of records, according to the special order.</p><p>The form itself requires officers to record identifying information, descriptions of persons stopped, and has a fairly extensive categorization for interactions among gang members, who according to some police sources often self-identify as belonging to a gang.</p><p>After analyzing forms from both cities, we found that Chicago&rsquo;s contact cards (displayed below) do not have fields (a checkbox) that simply and explicitly say a frisk was conducted. New York City does. Additionally, it won&rsquo;t convey specifically if the person was stopped involuntarily. Instead, that information is logged in a text description box, that is often scant on details with entries that are vastly open to interpretation.</p><p>A series of checkboxes, while limited in detail, can be mandated and set the baseline requirements of information gathering in a stop. They can be more easily broken down into stats that allow for analysis.</p><p>Further, these unruly narrative fields may have private information that must be meticulously redacted before being released to a requesting body. Not a problem for an individual card, but a major headache if you requested a year or more&rsquo;s worth of data to assess how the policy is being implemented.</p><p>For media outlets utilizing a Freedom of Information Act request, such redaction can be considered &ldquo;burdensome,&rdquo; and be grounds to reject the request &mdash; especially if the redactions run in the hundreds of thousands. &nbsp;</p><p>This has the effect of keeping the full contact card database largely hidden from view &ndash; and consequently: scrutiny.</p><p>The ACLU wants the police to do better documentation, which they say would allow for better review.</p><p>&ldquo;This is the most powerful tool the police department has and it is not reviewed by another branch of government,&rdquo; Grossman said.</p><p><strong>ACLU takes a crack at Contact Cards</strong></p><p>In April 2011, the ACLU requested the CPD release an electronic database of its contact card system via the Freedom of Information Act. In July of that year, the police department disclosed records of 177,000 for a six-month period starting in April of 2010.</p><p>The ACLU asked the police to search the narratives for a series of keywords, which included: detain, frisk, investigatory street stop, pat down, search, suspect or Terry.</p><p>After much back-and-forth, the CPD eventually produced a sampling of 298 records with narrative fields that redacted individuals&rsquo; names and addresses.</p><p>It allowed the ACLU to get a glimpse at the types of narratives entered by police officers.</p><p>Those ran the gamut of detailed explanations that spanned one or two paragraphs, to single sentence descriptions that often used police parlance or shorthand.</p><p>That doesn&rsquo;t necessarily mean that these resulted in a stop and frisk. It may just be that an officer stopped and questioned an individual.</p><p>&ldquo;Having officers communicate with individuals is a technique that has been used by every police department in the world as long as there has been policing,&rdquo; Collins said. &ldquo;We document communications serving an investigatory or police purpose through contact cards.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>What&rsquo;s going on in the 19th?</strong></p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="825" scrolling="no" src="http://interactive.wbez.org/maps/contact-card/" width="960"></iframe></p><p>In May, 19th Police District Commander Elias Voulgaris <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20130523/lakeview/lakeview-suspicious-person-stops-increase-as-robberies-dip">stated that officers increased the amount of contacts</a>. This was in response to community concerns about robberies in the Lakeview neighborhood.</p><p>We wanted to examine contact cards and see what, if any, information could be gleaned. Because the narrative portions would require meticulous redaction, we asked for information that did not include the description field about reasons for contact.</p><p>This leaves an analysis of the stops relatively incomplete and open for interpretation.</p><p>We want to emphasise: Given the current state of the Chicago Police Department&rsquo;s data collection standards on contact cards, we cannot, nor can anyone without the narrative description field, reasonably determine the exact number of stop and frisks &ndash; or who gets stopped.</p><p>WBEZ FOIA&rsquo;d the contact card data, minus the narratives, for the 19th district for 2012-2013. This district includes Uptown, Roscoe Village, Lakeview, Hamlin Park, Ravenswood and parts of Lincoln Park.</p><p>Out of the 30,355 records received, 9,639 contacts were labeled as &ldquo;suspect.&rdquo;</p><p>This excludes categories labeled as gang, traffic, dispersal and the largest chunk: other, which accounted for 12,578 of the records, or 41.42 percent of the 19th district data for 2012 and 2013. <em>(There was also a category for ccdoc, which presumably is for Cook County Department of Corrections. One other was identified as</em><em>&nbsp;R.O.G.U.E., the purpose of which, we&rsquo;re awaiting clarification from the Chicago Police Department.)&nbsp;</em></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/inline1.jpg" style="float: right;" title="Chicago police patrol Clark Street, just south of Wrigley Field. On a warm Saturday night, the crowd overflows from the bars prompted many to walk in the street. These officers were seen breaking up a fight between bar patrons five minutes after this photo was taken. (WBEZ/Elliott Ramos)" />For the 19th district there were 9,639 suspect contact cards between January 2012 and June 2013.</p><ul><li dir="ltr"><p><strong>Black: </strong>5,524 (57.31%)</p></li></ul><ul><li dir="ltr"><p><strong>White: </strong>2,391 (24.81%)</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p><strong>White Hispanic: </strong>1,494 (15.18%)</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p><strong>Asian:</strong> 118 (1.22%)</p></li></ul><p>But what does that mean?</p><p>Without detailed narratives, and explicit categorizations, these numbers lack needed context.</p><p>The Police Department strongly cautions against drawing conclusions from those numbers, absent the narratives.</p><p>CPD&rsquo;s Collins also said that for the first six months of this year, the racial demographics of the contact cards strongly resembles the ratio of suspect demographics of those in crime incident reports.</p><p>In police parlance, this means that if a person in the area is mugged, assaulted etc., and the victim or witness gives a description, the demographics of those descriptions go into a crime case report. The demographic stats from those reports is on par with those stopped for suspicion. According to the police department:</p><table align="right" border="0" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1" style="margin-left: 15px; margin-top: 15px; margin-bottom: 15px; width: 750px; height: 530px;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><strong>2010 Census demographics of Chicago&#39;s 19th Police District</strong></td></tr><tr><td><iframe frameborder="0" height="500" scrolling="no" src="https://www.google.com/fusiontables/embedviz?q=select+col196%3E%3E0+from+1Xaqj4bkp-82ZeIh_4DNghKUJw2u-ygKkXACa5R0&amp;viz=MAP&amp;h=false&amp;lat=41.95142086955482&amp;lng=-87.66647306457493&amp;t=1&amp;z=13&amp;l=col196%3E%3E0&amp;y=2&amp;tmplt=2&amp;hml=KML" width="750"></iframe></td></tr></tbody></table><p><strong>White</strong></p><ul><li dir="ltr"><p>Contact card: 30.5%</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p>Case report suspect: 27.1%</p></li></ul><p><strong>African-American</strong></p><ul><li dir="ltr"><p>Contact card: 49.9%</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p>Case report suspect: 53.1%</p></li></ul><p><strong>Latino</strong></p><ul><li dir="ltr"><p>Contact card: 16.5%</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p>Case report suspect: 17.3%</p></li></ul><p><strong>Other</strong></p><ul><li dir="ltr"><p>Contact card: 3.1%</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p>Case report suspect: 2.5%</p></li></ul><p><em>Source: Chicago Police Department</em></p><p>While the New York ruling found there was a disproportionate amounts of blacks to whites frisked, we cannot glean that from the available Chicago data.</p><p>&ldquo;CPD expressly prohibits racial profiling and other bias based policing,&rdquo; Collins said.</p><p>&ldquo;While investigatory stops are a legitimate law enforcement technique, race is not a factor for a stop,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;The only factor that can be taken into account for an investigatory stop is reasonable suspicion that the person is committing, is about to commit or has committed an offense.&rdquo;</p><p>The question remains: why is the number of blacks &quot;encountered&quot; so much higher than whites, especially in predominantly white neighborhoods of the 19th district?</p><p>&ldquo;We ought to be able to review that externally as citizens,&rdquo; said Grossman, referring to the contact card data.</p><p>In 2012, out of the 15 beats in the 19th District, the one that had the most contact cards on file was beat 1914, an area of Uptown bounded by Broadway, Montrose, Lawrence and the lakefront. That beat netted 3,459 contact cards, with 2,482 (71.75%) of them being black and 448 (12.95%) being white.</p><p>Many 2010 census blocks for Lakeview and much of District 19 has the general population that&rsquo;s mostly white (hovering around 90-95 percent). But of course, this does not account for thousands of visitors that regularly patronize the area&rsquo;s bars, restaurants or Wrigley Field, which makes census-level comparison moot.</p><p>It is worth noting, one of the greatest concentrations of Chicago&rsquo;s restaurants, taverns and outdoor cafes are in District 19, second only to the city&#39;s downtown area.</p><p>For the beat number 1924, which encompasses much of Lakeview, there was a significant increase in contact cards from 2012 to June 2013, confirming what the district commander has said.</p><p>That meant that the nightlife beat, up until June, netted 2,188 contact cards, with over half (1,136) of the contact in Wrigleyville and Boystown being black &mdash; and 681 (31%) being white.</p><p>Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), whose ward encompasses this beat, would not comment for this story.</p><p><strong>What&#39;s missing?</strong></p><table border="0" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1" style="width: 960px; height: 310px;"><tbody><tr><td style="width: 480px;"><form><a href="javascript:popUp('http://llnw.wbez.org/insert-images/NY-big.jpg')"><img src="http://llnw.wbez.org/insert-images/NY-small.jpg" /></a> <input onclick="javascript:popUp('http://llnw.wbez.org/insert-images/NY-big.jpg')" type="button" value="Zoom in on UF-250" />&nbsp;</form></td><td><form><a href="javascript:popUp('http://llnw.wbez.org/insert-images/Chi-Big_0.jpg')"><img src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Chi-Small.jpg" /></a> <input onclick="javascript:popUp('http://llnw.wbez.org/insert-images/Chi-Big_0.jpg')" type="button" value="Zoom in on Contact Card" />&nbsp;</form></td></tr></tbody></table><p><script type="text/javascript" src="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/static/modules/gviz/1.0/chart.js"> {"dataSourceUrl":"//docs.google.com/a/chicagopublicradio.org/spreadsheet/tq?key=0AoxVpL8Zenp3dEZtTUtaZEdQRTJQSTVCakFKYnlBZ3c&transpose=0&headers=1&range=A1%3AC30&gid=0&pub=1","options":{"titleTextStyle":{"fontSize":16},"vAxes":[{"useFormatFromData":true,"title":"Left vertical axis title","minValue":null,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null},{"useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null}],"booleanRole":"certainty","title":"Chart title","showRowNumber":false,"height":306,"animation":{"duration":0},"width":960,"annotations":{"domain":{"style":"line"}},"alternatingRowStyle":false,"hAxis":{"useFormatFromData":true,"title":"Horizontal axis title","minValue":null,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null}},"state":{},"view":{"columns":[0,{"label":"NYPD","properties":{"role":"annotation"},"sourceColumn":1},{"label":"CPD","properties":{"role":"annotationText"},"sourceColumn":2}]},"isDefaultVisualization":true,"chartType":"Table","chartName":"Chart 1"} </script></p><p><strong>What&rsquo;s next?</strong></p><p>In a letter addressed to the ACLU, the city&rsquo;s corporation counsel Steve Patton declined on behalf of CPD, a request to create a database of stop and frisks.</p><p>&ldquo;CPD respectfully declines ACLU&rsquo;s request that it create and maintain an entirely new database limited to &lsquo;sidewalk stop-and-frisks&rsquo;. Such a database would duplicate the information already included in CPD&rsquo;s Contact Card Information System with respect to investigatory stops and possible subsequent pat-downs that do not result in arrests, and serve no legitimate law enforcement purpose,&rdquo; Patton wrote in his letter.</p><p>The letter went on to say that the Police Department would modify training to require that officers clearly state within the narrative field of the contact card whether or not a stop and frisk was conducted. This is the same field that would require extensive redaction upon request.</p><p>Patton also added that if a street stop resulted in an arrest, they would not duplicate the paperwork by requiring both a contact card (with stop and frisk notation) and an arrest report.</p><p><strong>Why it matters</strong></p><p>Encounters with police that begin with contact cards and escalate to crime incident reports or arrests leave little or no connecting link. If these contacts are the first step &ndash; and such an important one as to be touted at press conferences &ndash; toward more effective community policing, should the public be able to follow the trail from contact, to arrest, and onward through the criminal justice system?</p><p>That paper trail could reveal a lot. For example, if a frisk is meant to check against weapons, but revealed narcotics, there could be a resulting arrest.</p><p>&ldquo;Pursuant to well settled law, if an officer has reasonable suspicion that an individual who has been stopped is carrying a weapon, under U.S. law they may do a protective search of that individual. If during the course of that search a weapon, narcotics, stolen goods or other illegal activity is discovered it is completely legal for an arrest to be made.&rdquo; CPD&rsquo;s Collins said.</p><p>The ratio of black to white arrests for marijuana in Chicago is 15 to 1, <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/chicago-marijuana-arrest-statistics/Content?oid=4198958">at least according to one news outlet</a> keeping tabs on such things. That gap remains consistent throughout a legal chain from the court into the prison system, according to the <em>Reader</em>.</p><p>If the starting link in that chain is the practice of a stop and frisk, should the public be able to review how that police power is exercised?</p><p>Given that stop and frisk identification will remain within the narrative, the public cannot get specific data without heavy amounts of redacting on the part of CPD. In fact, they&rsquo;re empowered to deny a FOIA request because of the level of burden such redacting puts on information officers.</p><p>&ldquo;We want this information to be available to the public for review,&rdquo; said Harvey Grossman. &ldquo;We want there to be a simple process to protect private information. We should be able to do in Chicago what they did in New York.&rdquo;</p><p>It may well be however, that until the data collection becomes more faceted and accessible, Chicago&rsquo;s stop and frisks might literally &ndash; go unchecked.</p><p><em>Elliott Ramos is a data reporter and Web producer. Follow him <a href="http://www.twitter.com/ChicagoEL">@ChicagoEl</a></em></p><p style="text-align: center;">&mdash;30&mdash;</p><div><iframe frameborder="0" height="600px" scrolling="no" src="https://opendata.socrata.com/w/6gqi-4u4s/y34g-bnf3?cur=Pb1-LFA1lg7&amp;from=root" title="Chicago's 19th District Contact Cards For 2012-2013" width="960px">&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a data-cke-saved-href=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;https://opendata.socrata.com/Government/Chicago-s-19th-District-Contact-Cards-For-2012-201/6gqi-4u4s&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot; href=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;https://opendata.socrata.com/Government/Chicago-s-19th-District-Contact-Cards-For-2012-201/6gqi-4u4s&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot; title=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;Chicago&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;#39;s 19th District Contact Cards For 2012-2013&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot; target=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;_blank&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;Chicago&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;#39;s 19th District Contact Cards For 2012-2013&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;</iframe><p><a href="http://www.socrata.com/" target="_blank">Powered by Socrata</a></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/167852526/Letter-to-Emanuel-Patton-McCarthy-1-15-13" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Letter to Emanuel Patton McCarthy 1-15-13 on Scribd">Letter to Emanuel Patton McCarthy 1-15-13</a> by <a href="http://www.scribd.com/WBEZ915" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Chicago Public Media's profile on Scribd">Chicago Public Media</a></p><p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="0.772922022279349" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_49287" scrolling="no" src="//www.scribd.com/embeds/167852526/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-1gw1n5z86qnbf6ea76z3&amp;show_recommendations=true" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 12 Sep 2013 20:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/poor-data-keeps-chicagos-stop-and-frisk-hidden-scrutiny-108670 Illinois Supreme Court ends challenges to abortion law http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-supreme-court-ends-challenges-abortion-law-108028 <p><p>A lengthy and emotionally charged legal battle over an Illinois abortion notification law appears to be ending, clearing the way for the state to begin enforcing a 1995 measure that requires doctors to notify a girl&#39;s parents 48 hours before the procedure.</p><p>The Illinois Supreme Court ruled Thursday to uphold a circuit court&#39;s earlier dismissal of the case challenging the parental notification law filed by a Granite City women&#39;s health clinic and a doctor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The decision means the state&#39;s parental notification law now has to be enforced &mdash; unless there&#39;s an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.</p><p>In its opinion, the court noted that the nation&#39;s high court has found parental notification laws to be constitutional.</p><p>&quot;Those precedents were followed here to find no due process or equal protection violation in Illinois,&quot; the court wrote.</p><p>The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the southeastern Illinois clinic and the director of the University of Illinois at Chicago&#39;s Center for Reproductive Health, said the law will go into effect in 35 days. The organization pledged in a statement to spend the next weeks working with health care providers and lawyers.</p><p>The Attorney General&#39;s office was not immediately available for comment regarding the decision Thursday morning.</p><p>The Parental Notice of Abortion Act requires doctors of girls 17 and younger to notify a parent 48 hours before an abortion. A girl could get a waiver if a judge says notification is against her best interest, including in cases of sexual abuse.</p><p>The law, instituted in 1995, was a key part of Republicans&#39; legislative agenda when they briefly controlled state government. But it was never enforced in Illinois because of a long string of court challenges.</p><p>The ACLU sued in 2009 to block the law&#39;s implementation after a decision by the U.S. Appeals Court would have permitted it to take effect. It argued the law is flawed because young women are capable of making informed medical decisions. Citing medical experts, the ACLU argued that parental involvement has not been shown to affect abortion rates, and that abortions don&#39;t harm the psychological health of vulnerable teenage girls.</p><p>But anti-abortion activists said parents are being denied basic rights when their children get abortions without their knowledge. The Attorney General&#39;s office had argued the ban should be enforced.</p></p> Thu, 11 Jul 2013 11:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-supreme-court-ends-challenges-abortion-law-108028 Judge: Indiana not improving mental health services for prisoners http://www.wbez.org/news/judge-indiana-not-improving-mental-health-services-prisoners-107853 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Indiana Prisons ACLU&#039;s Ken Falk.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A federal judge in Indianapolis wants to know why a court order from six months ago is being ignored.</p><p>In an order issued last December, U.S. District Court Judge Tonya Walton found the Indiana Department of Corrections&rsquo; treatment for 6,000 mentally ill inmates was inadequate and ordered more to be done.</p><p>But so far, that hasn&rsquo;t happened.</p><p>A status hearing scheduled for Wednesday in Indianapolis aims to learn more.</p><p>Kenneth Falk, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, says his group filed the original complaint against the IDOC in 2009.</p><p>&ldquo;This lawsuit was filed some time ago,&rdquo; Falk told WBEZ on Tuesday. &ldquo;It was based on the recognition and continued complaints from prisoners about what we viewed as serious neglect of their mental health needs while being in segregated environments that make their mental health needs even greater and their mental illnesses even worse,&rdquo; Falk told WBEZ on Tuesday.</p><p>The ACLU says in court documents that the plans the prison agency has filed have been impressive, but little has been done to make the improvements happen.</p><p>Joshua Sprunger works with Indiana&rsquo;s mental ill prison population. He thinks Indiana has yet to act because of money issues.</p><p>&ldquo;We have a system in Indiana that was designed for public safety, not for treatment and support for those living with serious mental illness,&rdquo; Sprunger said. &ldquo;The Indiana Department has been working on but has a long way to go in terms of the treatment and support that they can provide to folks inside. They are constrained by resources so we have been advocating with our state legislature and governor&#39;s administration to make sure the Department of Corrections has what it needs to carry that out.&rdquo;</p><p>Moreover, Sprunger said, is that many mentally ill inmates shouldn&rsquo;t be in jail or prison in the first place.</p><p>&ldquo;We really need to get some of these folks into treatment rather than into incarceration in the first place and that&rsquo;s the key,&rdquo; Sprunger said.</p><p>Sprunger says his group is not a party to the lawsuit but does work with both the ACLU and IDOC.</p><p>&ldquo;Our position is that state agencies need to be more creative, more collaborative and need to be fully-funded to develop better systems,&rdquo; Sprunger said. &ldquo;There are champions in the Indiana Department of Corrections that know where kind of where things need to be headed but they need to be empowered to make those decisions.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Follow WBEZ&rsquo;s Northwest Indiana reporter Michael Puente on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/MikePuenteNews" target="_blank">@MikePuenteNews</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 26 Jun 2013 10:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/judge-indiana-not-improving-mental-health-services-prisoners-107853 ACLU finds racial disparities in Illinois pot arrests http://www.wbez.org/news/aclu-finds-racial-disparities-illinois-pot-arrests-107555 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/3635_7811e70cf25bbc2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Leaders of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois say one way to address racial disparities in marijuana arrests is to stop making them.</p><p>A new report from the civil rights group calls for the legalization of marijuana. The study found that African Americans in Illinois are almost eight times more likely than whites to be arrested for pot possession.</p><p>Ed Yohnka, director of public policy for the ACLU of Illinois, says whites and blacks use pot at about the same rate, but enforcement focuses on African Americans.</p><p>&ldquo;We see this in the city of Chicago, we see it in other areas, that &hellip; where the enforcement is targeted is at people of color. And it results in this grossly disparate rate of arrest,&rdquo; Yohnka said.</p><p>In an emailed statement, a spokesman for the Chicago police Department said police officers enforce laws in the interest of public safety and without regard to race.</p><p>According to the ACLU report, Illinois has the fourth highest rate of race disparity in marijuana arrests in the country.</p><p>Yohnka says that disparity &ldquo;results in really tragic outcomes in &hellip; people&rsquo;s lives,&rdquo; because of court costs and the stigma of a criminal record.&nbsp; It cost the state about $221 million to enforce marijuana laws in 2010, according to the report.</p><p>&ldquo;This war on marijuana &hellip; is an abject failure,&rdquo; Yohnka said.</p><p>In its report the ACLU recommends that pot be legal for anyone over 21, and be licensed, taxed and regulated like any other product. The group also suggests that tax revenue from marijuana sales could be earmarked for substance-abuse prevention, among other things.Yohnka says the public wants marijuana to be legalized and that elected officials are lagging behind popular opinion.</p><p>Despite that, marijuana arrests are trending up, not down, in Illinois and throughout the country.</p><p>Illinois had 12,406 more pot arrests in 2010 than it did in 2001, according to the report.</p><p>The results of the study didn&#39;t come as a big shock to Juliana Stratton, but she says she was surprised to see that Cook County had the most marijuana possession arrests in the country.<br /><br />Stratton, who heads the Cook County Judicial Advisory Council, says the report confirms the importance of the work being done by Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle to try and cut down on the number of marijuana arrests in the county.<br /><br />She says more money and energy should be diverted away from law enforcement and toward treatment and prevention. In the coming months, she says the county will be unveiling programs that will divert minor drug offenders away from jail and toward rehabilitation.<br /><br />As for Cook County&#39;s high number of pot arrests, Stratton says part of the reason could be the Chicago Police Department&#39;s focus on quality-of-life policing and the drying up of state funds for drug treatment.<br /><br />Stratton says CPD&#39;s policy of arresting minor offenders as part of the &quot;broken windows theory&quot; of policing, runs counter to the county president&#39;s aim of decreasing the population of the Cook County Jail.</p><p>Illinois state Sen. Mattie Hunter, who heads the Illinois Disproportionate Justice Impact Study Commission, also said &nbsp;she was not surprised by the ACLU&rsquo;s findings. She says the report echoes what she and her colleagues have found in years studying racial inequality throughout the state.</p><p>But Hunter says the problem won&rsquo;t go away until racism is eradicated from the justice system.</p><p>Hunter does not support the legalization of marijuana.</p><p>Cook County led the nation in marijuana possession arrests in 2010 with 33,000, or 91 per day, according to the ACLU report.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 05 Jun 2013 17:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/aclu-finds-racial-disparities-illinois-pot-arrests-107555 Illinois prison health care lawsuit getting boost from ACLU http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-prison-health-care-lawsuit-getting-boost-aclu-107446 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Mills.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Update: The Illinois Department of Corrections and attorneys for plaintiffs say they have a settlement conference scheduled for late June.&nbsp; The date for that settlement conference was set several weeks ago.</em></p><p>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.</p><p>The suit was filed by Alan Mills who runs the Uptown People&rsquo;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.</p><p>His own group, Mills says, is a very small operation.</p><p>&quot;We have lots of expertise in the way the prisons work,&quot; he said, &quot;but don&rsquo;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&rsquo;s favor.&rdquo;</p><p>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.</p></p> Fri, 31 May 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-prison-health-care-lawsuit-getting-boost-aclu-107446