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COVID-19 in Illinois prisons


Resources from Restore Justice

Status of Court Hearings in Illinois

After shutting down with most of the state, courts have resumed operating. In some circuits, hearings are being held via phone and video when possible. There are other modifications to previous schedules. Here’s the latest information from each Illinois circuit:


ILLINOIS FAILING KEY PILLAR OF RESPONSE: PRISONS REMAIN CROWDED, RELEASES EXACERBATE RACIAL INEQUITY

As the global COVID-19 pandemic caused Illinois to shut down, Governor JB Pritzker acknowledged the dangers of our state’s overcrowded prison system. He encouraged Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) facilities to release incarcerated people in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. 

However, analysis of prison population and release datasets shows IDOC is not actually releasing many people early, and, of those released, there are startling racial inequities. 

Early Releases by Release Mechanism and Race

ILLINOIS NEEDS PUBLIC “PHASE 4” GUIDANCE FOR PRISONS

As Illinois enters Phase 4 in the plan to Restore Illinois, Governor JB Pritzker’s office has yet to release public guidance on the plan for Illinois prisons. The Restore Illinois plan identified key benchmarks for movement from Phase 3 to Phase 4.

The road map to move from Phase 3 to Phase 4 indicated testing would need to be “available in (each) region regardless of symptoms or risk factors.” Unfortunately, similar or aligned standards have not been articulated for Illinois prisons. 


OUR PREVIOUS COVID-19 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRISONS

As Illinois shut down in March to protect residents from COVID-19, Restore Justice and the Illinois Prison Project released recommendations to keep people who are incarcerated and prison staff safe. We then released updated recommendations in April.


COVID-19 Webinar for Families with Incarcerated Loved Ones

This webinar will help you develop strategies for advocating for your loved ones during this COVID-19 pandemic. Find tips and tools for contacting officials and for demanding better conditions.


Illinois Legislative Advocacy Webinar

This webinar will help you develop strategies for advocating for policy change in Springfield. Our training begins with a set of basics, including information about how the process works and how to engage in a constructive way.


Other Resources

JOHN HOWARD ASSOCIATION SURVEY: COVID IN ILLINOIS PRISONS

“It is critically important that we know and better understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the health, safety, and quality of life of people who are incarcerated in Illinois’ prisons. In order to get this information, JHA conducted our first ever system-wide survey.”

ILLINOIS PRISON PROJECT TOOLKIT FOR CLEMENCIES

This toolkit contacts resources to help file emergency commutation petitions without the help of an attorney, in light of the threat posed by COVID-19.

IDOC HOTLINE

Call (217) 558-2200. 
The call center is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 
Email doc.covid@illinois.gov.

ILLINOIS-SPECIFIC ARTICLES ABOUT COVID-19 AND PRISONS


STATE BY STATE COVID-19 TESTING IN PRISONS

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