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Suit seeks Illinois inmates' release due to coronavirus

The lawsuit calls to reduce the prison population on grounds that hundreds of inmates are particularly vulnerable to catching and dying from the coronavirus.
Credit: AP
An employee from Arbor food management services puts on gloves before providing meals to be picked up for students, families, and members of the community in Niles, Ill., Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Districts 63 and 207 provide meals each week for all children under the age of 18 during school closure from the new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

A new federal lawsuit seeks an court order directing state officials "to drastically reduce Illinois’s prison population" on grounds that hundreds of inmates are particularly vulnerable to catching and dying from the coronavirus. 

The lawsuit filed Thursday in Chicago names ten inmates but seeks class-action status to represent older prisoners and those with underlying health conditions. 

The filing says that poor medical care and a lack of protective measures behind bars make the COVID-19 virus especially deadly. 

The lawsuit asks for the court to order the immediate medical furlough for some prisoners and the transfer to home detention of others. 

Meanwhile, Illinois reported about 7,700 cases statewide and 157 deaths.

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