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RICO State's Attorney files contempt petitions against Illinois DHS for untreated inmates

The move involves four cases where inmates in need of specialized mental health care have been waiting for transfer to DHS facilities for a long time.

ROCK ISLAND COUNTY, Ill — Rock Island County is filing contempt petitions against the Illinois Department of Human Services in a series of cases of inmates waiting a long time for transfer to mental health facilities.

The announcement came in a Friday, June 17 press release from Rock Island County State's Attorney Dora Villarreal, regarding four inmates who are awaiting transfer to mental health facilities.

Villarreal has filed Petitions for Rule to Show Cause for Civil Contempt, or in layman's terms, an allegation that a party has willfully failed to obey a court order or judgment. The petitions are aimed at the Director of the Illinois Department of Human Services.

The petitions allege that four Rock Island County Jail inmates are being denied justice and treatment.

The inmates in question were all deemed unfit for trial due to psychiatric conditions and were ordered to go through specialized treatment and therapy at DHS-operated State Mental Hospitals before they could participate in their cases. 

Officials are saying that these inmates have been waiting for transfer for a range of 58 to 170 days.

Villarreal included a personal statement on the case, saying:

“The duty of the Rock Island County State’s Attorney’s Office is to ensure the administration of justice in all aspects of each case. The people of Rock Island County, our jail staff, and most importantly these individuals, are being denied justice due to the backlog of transfers to DHS facilities. It is unfair to expect correctional staff to provide much-needed mental health services to people in need. Our duty is to protect both the citizens of Rock Island County and the rights of these individuals in our care. DHS has allowed these human beings to languish in jail without treatment, and significantly deteriorate due to the lack of DHS transport. It is a disservice to the people in need of mental health care, the victims in these cases who must wait for resolution, jail staff whose own safety is jeopardized, and the taxpayers who should rightfully expect state agencies to comply with their duties in a timely manner.”

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