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Case Name U.S. v. Elrod JC-IL-0001
Docket / Court 76-c-4768 ( N.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
On December 29, 1976, the United States filed a lawsuit against the Cook County Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the District of Illinois. The United States sought injunctive relief, alleging that the conditions of overcrowding, inadequate sanitation, and inadequate ... read more >
On December 29, 1976, the United States filed a lawsuit against the Cook County Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the District of Illinois. The United States sought injunctive relief, alleging that the conditions of overcrowding, inadequate sanitation, and inadequate visitation at the Department of Corrections constituted violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights of the individuals incarcerated there. The United States further alleged that the defendants were housing inmates on the basis of race, and that the defendants had breached contractual conditions attached to funds, which had been received for the construction of correctional facilities.

The Cook County Department of Corrections, which housed persons awaiting trial, received federal funding pursuant to the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, 42 U.S.C. § 3701 et seq. The United States alleged that inmates were assigned to the housing units at the facilities operated by the Cook County Department of Corrections on the basis of their race or color, creating housing units containing only black inmates.

The defendants moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that the United States lacked standing to bring an action to protect the constitutional rights of third persons. On January 26, 1979, the District Court (Judge Hubert Louis Will) dismissed the constitutional claims, stayed the proceedings regarding the contractual claims, on the grounds that those claims should first be adjudicated through administrative proceedings, and ruled that the government had stated a claim as to the allegations of racial discrimination. The United States appealed the stay of the contractual claims and the dismissal of the constitutional claims. On August 4, 1980, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Judge Richard Dickson Cudahy) held that the contractual claims did not need to first be adjudicated through administrative proceedings, and that the standing of the government as to the constitutional claims was governed by the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq. United States v. Elrod, 627 F.2d 813 (7th Cir. 1980). The court remanded the case to give the government an opportunity to comply with the statutory requirements of CRIPA, which had been enacted while the appeal was pending.

After negotiation, the parties reached an agreement. On January 4, 1980, the District Court (Judge Will) entered a consent decree. The consent decree provided that the defendants would not discriminate against or segregate any inmate or group of inmates on the basis of race, color, or national origin. The agreement further provided that the defendants would not use any criteria or methods of administration to for assignment or classification, which would have the purpose or effect of discriminating against or segregating inmates on the basis of race, color, or national origin. The National Institute of Corrections was to develop a comprehensive plan consistent with the consent decree. The plan described in detail the classification procedures to be used by the Department of Corrections, and was docketed on December 17, 1982.

We have no further information on this case.

Kaitlin Corkran - 06/13/2006
Richard Jolly - 10/25/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Classification / placement
Visiting
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
Defendant(s) Cook County Department of Corrections
Cook County Jail
Plaintiff Description United States Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1980 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
Additional Resources
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Case Studies After Decision: Implementation of Judicial Decrees in Correctional Settings
Written: Oct. 01, 1977
By: M. Kay Harris & Dudley P. Spiller (Temple University)
Citation: (1977)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

  An Analysis of CRIPA Findings Letters Issued to Jails for Constitutional Violations by the Department of Justice
Written: Apr. 15, 2016
By: Jeff Mellow, Bryce E. Peterson & Mijin Kim (John Jay College of Criminal Justice)
Citation: Am. J. Crim. Just. (April 2016)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Consent Decree 01/04/1980 (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0001-0001 PDF | Detail
Defendants' Compliance with Consent Decree, Pars. D and E Classification Plan 01/04/1980
JC-IL-0001-0002 PDF | Detail
Opinion 08/04/1980 (627 F.2d 813)
JC-IL-0001-0005 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Cook County Dept. of Corrections, Initial Classification Review 04/01/1982
JC-IL-0001-0004 PDF | Detail
Judges Cudahy, Richard Dickson (Seventh Circuit)
JC-IL-0001-0005
Will, Hubert Louis (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0001-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Days, Drew S. III (District of Columbia)
JC-IL-0001-0001
Dimsey, Dennis J. (District of Columbia)
JC-IL-0001-0005
Groenberg, Robert T. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0001-0001
Sullivan, Thomas P. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0001-0001
Whinston, Stephen A. (District of Columbia)
JC-IL-0001-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Daley, Richard M. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0001-0001 | JC-IL-0001-0002
Hauser, Henry A. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0001-0001 | JC-IL-0001-0002
Robinson, Ellen G. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0001-0005
Other Lawyers None on record

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