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Illinois’ Anthony Gay Isolated Confinement Reform Bill Reintroduced in General Assembly

Posted on: March 2nd, 2021 by Romanucci & Blandin

<h2?HB 3564 to reform devastating prison practices and bring transparency

CHICAGO (March 2, 2021) –  Romanucci & Blandin, LLC and Illinois State Representative La Shawn Ford (D- Chicago, 8th District) together announce The Anthony Gay Isolated Confinement Restriction Act, Illinois House Bill 3564 (formerly HB 182 in 2020), was reintroduced by Rep. Ford this week. The bill is named for former inmate Anthony Gay who was held in solitary confinement for two decades, including 15 years of a prolonged sentence as a punishment for behavior resulting from his isolation.  During his extreme isolation, he was denied appropriate and necessary mental health treatment which made it impossible for Gay to comport with prison rules and regulations, leading him to brutally mutilate himself countless times and endure years of mental and physical torture. The bill was introduced last session but did not make it out of committee before the session concluded. The bill is intended to reform solitary confinement practices in the Illinois Department of Corrections and create greater transparency.

The Anthony Gay Isolated Confinement Restriction Act, would:

-Limit a committed person to no more than 10 consecutive days in isolated confinement in a 180-day period. 

-Provide that when out of cell, committed persons have access to activities such as group therapy, medical appointments, meals, educational classes, job assignments, visits and exercise, gymnasium or yard time.

-Ensure transparency with quarterly reports by the Illinois Department of Corrections on the use of isolated confinement.

The Isolated Confinement Restriction Act is now with the Illinois House of Representatives Rules Committee and can be read at: 

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=3564&GAID=16&DocTypeID=HB&SessionID=110&GA=102

“We hope with this bill we help Illinois residents and taxpayers understand how grave and dangerous the conditions are for those currently in solitary confinement in our state.  The Anthony Gay Isolated Confinement Restriction Bill  will bring much-needed humane and civilized standards to the practice of isolating inmates in Illinois and to bring about critical transparency to the system so that Corrections officials are accountable for the conditions and public officials and citizens can understand what transpires behind prison walls,” said Rep. LaShawn Ford. “We call on Illinois lawmakers and Governor J.B. Pritzker to support this effort and create a more humane environment and end this unconstitutional practice.” 

Illinois residents are asked to reach out to their representatives and urge them to support House Bill 182. You can do this by calling or emailing your representatives office. Lawmaker contact information can be found at: https://www.ilga.gov/house/.

“After my horrific experience in solitary confinement, when I was denied the medical care I clearly needed, I have dedicated my life to creating change in the system,” said former inmate Anthony Gay. “I have written an open letter to members of Illinois’ General Assembly, asking them to support this bill. No inmate should ever experience what I did again.”

“While we pursue justice in the civil courts for Anthony Gay, it is essential that we also work to bring positive change for those inmates currently serving time. It is our hope and expectation that this piece of legislation will do just that in Illinois,” said Gay’s attorney, Nicolette Ward at Romanucci & Blandin, LLC. 

Anthony Gay was released from prison in August of 2018 and has filed a federal lawsuit against former Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) director John Baldwin, current IDOC director Rob Jeffreys, Wexford Health Sources, a private company that provides medical and mental health care to IDOC inmates, the wardens and assistant wardens of institutions at which Anthony Gay was imprisoned, and several employees of IDOC and Wexford.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, charges the Defendants with torture of Gay, violating the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Rehabilitation Act. It also  alleges that the Plaintiff’s Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated. 

The State’s treatment of Gay increased his torture and caused him to take erratic and irrational actions, which included extensive sampling of repeated and severe self-mutilation, including cuts to the Plaintiff’s scrotum, arms, legs, and eyelids. Rather than providing the necessary and essential psychiatric care, the State pursued criminal charges against Gay, which extended his prison sentence for years and caused his mental condition to deteriorate in a blatant violation of his constitutional rights, the lawsuit states.

Anthony Gay, Rep. Ford, and Attorney Nicolette Ward recently provided comments on the need for change in solitary confinement practices in a video produced by  Romanucci & Blandin.   The video can be viewed at: https://bit.ly/39YiVXt.

About Romanucci & Blandin, LLC 

Romanucci & Blandin is a national trial practice committed to fighting for victims of negligence, abuse and wrongful death arising from police misconduct, corporate negligence, civil rights actions, medical malpractice, mass torts and class actions. The attorneys’ steadfast commitment to fighting for those seeking justice around the country has helped the firm obtain multiple verdicts and settlements in the millions of dollars. The Chicago-based personal injury lawyers are dedicated to providing victims who suffered injury as a result of another’s wrongdoing full and fair compensation in a diligent, professional, skilled and caring manner. The lawyers actively support their communities and provide advocacy at the national, state and local levels on issues that support the U.S. tort system. Founded in 1998, Romanucci & Blandin is widely recognized for representing plaintiffs in numerous practice areas including: personal injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice, workers’ compensation, pharmaceutical, mass torts, civil rights, police misconduct, excessive force, aviation, product liability and premises liability.  For more information about Romanucci & Blandin, please visit www.rblaw.net or call (312) 458-1000.  

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