IDOC policy changes “medical hold” & Work Release eligibility!

Posted: November 11, 2010 by freerichardwanke in IDOC

We are hearing from inmates about a change in the medical policy for IDOC inmates related to their eligibility for Work Release. This policy change apparently went into effect 9/29/2010, and was communicated to inmates at most of the state prisons via posting on internal video bulletin boards. The policy change was in the form of a written directive addressed to the attention of all inmates, from Dr. Louis Shicker, the Medical Director of IDOC.

We are looking for a written form of this memo to post. If you have one, please email it to us at freerichardwanke@gmail.com!

Presently, many inmates are eligible to apply for Work Release positions during the last two years of their IDOC sentence, when they have the ability to work outside the prison in the community around their facility for the remainder of their served sentence as long as they adhere to IDOC regulations and monitoring. Work Release is eagerly sought by many inmates. Up to this point in time, if an inmate had any type of medical condition; physical, mental, or need for medical monitoring or medication, they were prevented from participation in Work Release due to a “medical hold” placed on them by IDOC.  They could not participate in Work Release because IDOC is responsible for their medical services and lacks the ability to provide these to them outside prison.

Now, perhaps due to the extent of IDOC overcrowding, Dr. Shicker advised inmates in September, that IDOC policy will now allow inmates who have “medical holds” because they require medication to be administered to them, to individually “waive” their right to medical treatment from IDOC and to assume all responsibility for this themselves. If an inmate is willing to do this, then the inmate can be approved to participate in Work Release.

At face value, this policy change sounds favorable to inmates by giving them more control over their placement. Reflecting upon the matter shows it could create some real problems for IDOC.

Many of the inmates in IDOC require medications  to treat a variety of mental health issues and conditions. Many of these conditions are serious and not easily treated. Whether in prison or in society, many mentally-ill individuals tend to be non-compliant when it comes to taking medication, especially long-term. Offering all inmates an opportunity to assume all responsibility for their own medical care may be impractical for these individuals and may invite problems if they turn non-compliant while on Work Release. It could lead to increased problems within the communities and could also result in an increased number of Work Release citations by IDOC sending inmates back to prison or even extending their sentences due to infractions.

This change may be a good thing for some inmates, but we don’t know what the rationale for this policy change is and are waiting to hear how it is being implemented. We just don’t want the whole thing to blow up and then read about it in the news…

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Comments
  1. Tabitha says:

    THIS IS GOOD THAT THE WORK RELEASE PROGRAM POLICY HAS CHANGED BUT SERIOUSLY WHEN IS THE MGT GOING TO BE GIVEN BACK TO THE INMATES. I THINK ALOT INMATES AND THEIR FAMILIES WOULD LIKE MGT TO BE REINSTATED. HOW LONG DOES THIS REVIEWING TAKE? THE GOVERNORS OFFICE HAVE TO GET TIRED OF THESE PHONE CALLS. ALL I CAN DO IS PRAY FOR THE INMATES!

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  2. Julia says:

    When is it going to be realized by the people that addicts are not criminals?? They say addiction is an illness but they put people who have this illness in prison instead of a hospital. If you are caught with only a personal use amount of drugs doesnt that mean you are a user and not a distributor??? There are alot of young adults who need help with this illness, not because they are criminals, but because they are sick!! MGT should be reinstated for these people so their families and the state can get them the help they need. Right now we are letting them down by tossing aside their medical needs and sending them back to their communities without fixing anything. Prison time does not address the real issues here. Most addicts hate themselves and by putting them in a prison cell with no medical treatment for their illness, we show them that we are not concerned about them either.

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