On June 15, 1999, four juvenile prisoners filed a lawsuit in the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC). The plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU, asked the court for injunctive relief, claiming that the practices and conditions at JTDC deprived them of adequate medical, dental, and mental health care services, denied them sufficient access to educational programs, and subjected them to violence, abuse, neglect, and unfair discipline.
On December 22, 1999, the District Court (Judge John A. Nordberg) certified a plaintiff class consisting of all persons who have been, are, or will be confined at the JTDC.
The parties spent several months negotiating the proposed resolution of this case under the supervision of Magistrate Judge Ashmann. The parties submitted their agreement to the Court (Judge Nordberg), who entered an order approving the settlement agreement on December 30, 2002. Pursuant to the agreement, the Court also dismissed the action without prejudice. The Court retained jurisdiction to enter orders in relation to the agreement.
On November 8th, 2005, the plaintiffs filed for a petition to enforce the agreement. The parties renegotiated their settlement. The Court (Judge Nordberg)entered the agreed supplemental order on May 18th, 2006. The parties agreed to heightened monitoring through a third party administrator and a curriculum of training and counseling for staff members engaging in egregious conduct.
On May 27th, 2007, the plaintiffs filed a motion for an appointment of a receiver. The plaintiffs claimed that the conditions of the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center were arguably worse than they had been at the beginning of the lawsuit and that the County Board flagrantly and consistently violated the Court's orders.
On August 16th, 2007, the State of Illinois enacted legislation that transferred administration of the JTDC from the executive branch of Cook County to the Office of the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County. On August 17, 2007, the Court (Judge Nordberg) entered an agreed order for a transitional administrator to assist with the transition of authority.
On April 15, 2008, the plaintiffs filed a motion to allow the administrator to hire emergency security staffing. The Court (Judge Nordberg) found that the current situation at the JTDC constituted an emergency and ordered that the transitional administrator be granted power to hire additional security. The Court also temporarily suspended all local laws regarding unions and collective bargaining on May 8th, 2008.
On June 8, 2008, Local Union No. 714 filed a suit with the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit under 28 U.S. Code § 1292 regarding the decision to suspend the local laws regarding unions. On January 20, 2009, Local Union No. 714 requested that the case be remanded, as the case had been transferred to the Hon. James F. Holderman, who stated that he was inclined to grant 714's motion, in part, in regards to the May 20, 2008 judgment. The Court granted this motion on January 27, 2009.
On November 11th, 2008, and October 9th, 2009, the transitional administrator gave reports to the court as to the on-going changes within the prison system.
On March 12, 2009, the Court (Judge Holderman) entered an agreed order regarding a dispute of firing four employees as a result of their conduct towards the children in the JTDC. The employees would be given new positions that have no contact with any of the children, and failure to follow this order would result in a review by the Magistrate Judge. Disputes between the local union and the transitional administrator continued to surface over the next year, with small changes in the language of previous documents and the contracts between the supplemental personnel, the transitional administrator, and the local union. This trend solidified with an order from the Court (JUdge Holderman) on June 23, 2010, when the transitional administrator was ordered to implement the proposed staffing changes outlined in the second report, including IMPACT screening for all staff and the requirement of a bachelor's degree for positions interfacing with the housed juveniles.
On July 22, 2010, Local Union No. 700 filed a suit with the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit regarding the June 23, 2010 order to change JTDC job descriptions and have current staff reapply for positions. The record shows that the Court of Appeals took no action in this matter.
On March 9th, 2011, the third report of the transitional administrator was submitted to the Court. On November 26th, 2012, the fourth report of the transitional administrator was submitted to the Court.
On April 8th, 2013, the fifth report of the transitional administrator was submitted to the Court. In this report, the transitional administrator stated that the JTDC was at 71% compliance, assuming waivers of certain medical responsibilities were granted. Cases regarding suicide watch would be handled by nearby hospitals instead of in-house solutions, precluding the need for a specialized unit for these youth. The plans for complete transition to a permanent administrator were discussed on May 9th, 2014, with a further hearing set for November 4, 2014. Kathryn DeLong - 10/23/2014