Current Issues

The Coronavirus as seen through the eyes of our Insiders

Part VI: “I am afraid for my son”

See also   Part I   Part II  Part III   Part IV   Part V  Part VII   Part VIII   Part IX   Part X   Part XI  Part XII

Julie is not an Insider but rather the mother of one. And her son is, by legal definition, not in prison but in a civil commitment facility, TDF Rushville in Illinois. She includes a drawing done by one of the inmates as well as an aerial view of the entire facility.

By Julie, concerned mother of Insider Rex; 4/24

This facility was originally built as a prison to house juveniles. Illinois Department of Human Services operates the facility but Illinois Department of Corrections owns the facility.

To fit on one page, the artist put the “day room” above the cell, but in reality, it is all one floor.

On the bottom of the page is a picture of the outside of the building and the fence that surrounds the building. The fence has barbed wire on the bottom and razor wire bottom and top, and a second fence with razor wire around the bottom surrounds the entire facility.

This is a mental health facility, not a prison.

Each 10X15X10 foot cell holds two adult men.  They share a metal toilet, sink, and a table with an attached metal seat.  They share a dresser.  One sleeps on the bottom and one on the top. Some of the cells do not have a functional ladder to get to the top bunk, so the “top bunk” resident climbs up on the dresser; many have fallen and required stitches in their heads.

All residents — they are not to be called inmates — are locked in their cells every afternoon from 2:55 until 3:20, every evening from 5:45 until 6:15, and every night from 10:45 until 7:15 the next morning. Additionally, they are locked in if the electricity goes out, if there is an altercation, or any other time the staff deems it necessary.

The part of the drawing that has the tables is the “day room.”  They take all their meals in this day room. They are given their medicine in this day room; they spend the majority of their time either locked up or in this room except when they go to groups (which have been cancelled due to the Coronavirus), healthcare, dentistry, library, gym and yard.

35 residents share one day room. The cells surround the day room. This is one entire building with recirculated air; there is no fresh air coming into the building. What windows there are cannot be opened.

There are a total of seven units. One unit, Fox, is now a quarantine unit, with, as of this date, 48 men all under Coronavirus quarantine.

Another unit, Gamma, has 100 men, all of whom are elderly or very sick.  It also has hospice care that focuses on palliative care for the terminally ill men.

Security Therapy Aides (STA) are with the men 24/7.  They are guards armed with pepper spray and carrying handcuffs who once went on strike to remove the word “therapy” from their titles.  Many abuse incidences have been filed against them. They refuse to wear their masks, face shields, and gloves 100% of the time, even when they are with the residents.

There are 534 men at TDF Rushville.  Something needs to be done to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, which today was confirmed by an attorney to be at TDF Rushville. It has been confirmed that some staff have Covid-19 and have been removed.

There is in no way to social distance the residents from each other.  They have been given face masks but are not allowed to wear face shields or gloves.

If this virus spreads throughout TDF Rushville, all the men will be infected.  The cost of the health care for 534 men will be exorbitantly high for the state of Illinois to spend, and my fear is that the virus with be left untreated, unchecked, free to spread, and that some if not many will die.

These men at TDF Rushville have done their entire prison sentences and are held beyond their sentences in “civil commitment.” I am afraid for my son. I am afraid for them all.

Addendum 4/29: It has just been confirmed that two men at TDF Rushville have the Coronavirus.


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This post was written by someone, or multiple people, within NARSOL.