For decades the Alliance has responded to the crisis in prison conditions on three fronts:
- We intervene directly in emergency medical cases and press for immediate action on the part of Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) medical staff and medical contractors.
- We intervene directly in cases of brutality and crimes committed by staff against prisoners and press for immediate restorative action on the part of IDOC staff.
- We have testified on several occasions before State Legislative Committee hearings concerning these problems. For copies of some of the testimony given by the Alliance click HERE.
The Alliance receives dozens of letters every week from men and women incarcerated in IDOC prisons and country jails across Illinois. Although we have no paid staff, we answer every letter through the work of selfless volunteers. Wherever possible we make calls to prison authorities, and we coach family members of prisoners to make such calls, with the aim of demanding that medical misfeasance and malfeasance and staff violations of prisoners’ rights are corrected.
Proposal for an independent Medical Ombudsman over the IDOC medical system
This experience has enabled us to work with experts in correctional health care and broad community forces to put forward a proposal for a Medical Ombudsman over the IDOC medical system which would separate medical grievances of prisoners from the mass of everyday grievances filed and fast track them in a system that would be independent of IDOC medical staff and could order that care previously denied or delayed be provided when independent professional medical ombudsmen deem it necessary. For a copy of the Alliance Draft Proposal for a Medical Ombudsman click HERE.
Only a mass movement can bring the change that is needed
We have no illusion that we can bring justice to a fundamentally unjust system simply by calling attention to its serious violations of human rights. Our goal has always been to organize prisoners and their families and friends into a broad democratic movement involving the whole community, informed by the recognition that an injustice to one threatens all with injustice. It is only through a mass movement engaged in mass political struggle that change will be possible.