CHICAGO, IL â€”Â Disturbing stories about lack of care and inattention to prisonersâ€™ health inside the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) will be shared by former prisoners and their families during a public forum on prison healthcare injustice in Chicago.Formerly incarcerated men and women, their families, as well as elected officials and prison reform advocates are expected to speak out about inadequate healthcare inside the prison system and advocate for real change at this forum, called Compassion to Action. It will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, September 12 in Rooseveltâ€™s second-floor Congress Lounge, 430 S. Michigan Ave., in Chicago.
Failure of IDOCâ€™s healthcare system has been well-documented in numerous reports. One is by Pew Charitable Trusts and the MacArthur Foundation. There is also an independent review of the system by medical experts for the U.S. District Court in Chicago, where a class action lawsuit brought by Uptown Peopleâ€™s Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union against the Illinois prison healthcare system is pending.
In spite of overwhelming evidence, including 15 recommendations for sweeping change made by the John Howard Association, little of consequence has been done to date to reform and upgrade IDOCâ€™s healthcare system. Meanwhile, Illinoisâ€™ prisons are approximately 73% over capacity.
The Prison Health Care Injustice Forum: Compassion in Action will feature numerous personal stories, including the testimonies of a former prisoner who believes her delayed diagnosis of cancer while at IDOC led to her losing her vocal cords. Also speaking will be the wife of a former prisoner who contends her husband died inside prison because of foot dragging and IDOCâ€™s failure to follow doctorsâ€™ orders for treating his prostate cancer.
The forum is free and open to the public, and the media is also invited to attend. To register, visit this page. For more information, see Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation at Roosevelt University, or call 312-341-2150.
About the sponsors:
The Justice and Witness Ministry Team of the Chicago Metropolitan Association of the United Church of Christ is a faith-based organization committed to justice and compassion. The Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation at Roosevelt University is an educational institute committed to dismantling the cradle-to-prison pipeline and addressing inequalities in the justice system.
About the grassroots initiative to improve Illinois prison healthcare:
Planning partners include Affordable Power and Justice, American Friends Service Committee, Black on Both Sides, Cabrini Green Legal Aid, The Changing Minds Campaign of the Illinois Institute for Community Law and Affairs, Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Chicago Light Brigade, Chicago Womenâ€™s AIDS Project, Coalition for Justice and Respect, Community Justice for Youth Institute, Community Mennonite Church, Markham
Community Renewal Society, Euclid Avenue United Methodist Church, The Faith Community of St. Sabina, The Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ, Immabasi- Health and Wellness Ministry of Trinity United Church of Christ, The Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice at Adler University, The John Howard Association, Men and Women in Prison Ministries, Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration, Nehemiah Trinity Rising, The Next Movement, an interfaith committee of the Prison Ministry of Trinity United Church of Christ, The Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church, Project NIA, Positive Anti-Crime Thrust, Samuel DeWitt Procter Conference, Sargent Shriver National Poverty Law Center, St. Leonardâ€™s Ministries, Westside Health Authority and Uptown Peopleâ€™s Law Center.