Knox County Sheriff joins lawsuit against DHS over inmate transfers
Knox County Sheriff David Clague has joined a lawsuit against Gov. JB Pritzker and the Department of Humans Services over the delayed transfer of mentally ill inmates.
Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell filed the lawsuit in June.
It accuses Gov. JB Pritzker and DHS of not complying with the Illinois Code of Criminal Procedure, which sets a 20-day period for transferring defendants unfit to stand trial from county jails to state psychiatric facilities.
Knox County is among five other counties to join the lawsuit, including Rock Island, Macon, Madison, and McLean counties.
This comes after Knox County State’s Attorney Jeremy Karlin filed three petitions in circuit court last week to hold DHS in contempt.
Karlin said DHS failed to follow orders to transport three Knox County defendants found unfit to stand trial from the county jail to state hospitals – and some defendants had been waiting for more than 100 days.
“It is unfair to expect correctional staff to provide much-needed mental health services to people in need,” Karlin said.
Karlin said after the petitions were filed, one Knox County inmate found unfit to stand trial was transferred to McFarland Mental Health Center in Springfield.
The Pritzker administration has used a COVID-related executive order to delay the transfers.
The lawsuit claims the delayed transfers cost the counties money and puts other inmates and jail personnel at risk.
A hearing on allowing the amended lawsuit with the five additional counties is set for 1 p.m . Aug. 1 in Sangamon County.
Meanwhile, Ninth Judicial Circuit Associate Judge Curtis Lane has issued orders directing the DHS secretary to appear in court on Wednesday.
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