Illinois prison inmates again allowed to talk to attorneys on phone

Illinois Department of Corrections officials say they have restored attorney-client phone
calls at Stateville and Hill prisons

Edward Johnson and Associates P.C.
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According to the Chicago Tribune:

Illinois Department of Corrections officials say they have restored attorney-client phone calls at Stateville and Hill prisons, acknowledging that pandemic-related restrictions on inmate movement had forced officials to temporarily suspend the calls.

The calls, which require access to a part of the prison that has privacy and phone lines that are not monitored, had been put on hold due to COVID-19 precautions. Attorneys told the Tribune last week they had been informed they might have to wait until the first week of May to speak to a client.

“Obviously these are extraordinary circumstances but people who are in custody still have a constitutional right to communicate,” said Sheila Bedi, a professor of law at Northwestern University and one of several Chicago attorneys who filed a lawsuit against IDOC over the COVID-related risks to thousands of inmates inside Illinois prisons.

According to the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) website, in regards to Illinois inmates phone services rights:

“Inmates cannot receive telephone calls, but can make collect calls to those on their approved calling list. If you want to receive collect calls from an offender, you will need to write the offender and ask to be placed on the offender’s approved calling list.

Offenders have scheduled times when they can make collect calls, which are determined by their living unit’s schedule. All offender telephone calls are subject to monitoring and recording at any time by Departmental staff, unless prior special arrangements have been made to make or receive an unmonitored attorney call. All requests for unmonitored attorney calls must be processed by a member of the IDOC legal staff.

Participation or initiation of three-way calls by inmates is strictly prohibited by IDOC rules, and will result in disciplinary action.”

IDOC Website

It is our belief that inmates, regardless of proof of guilt or not, have constitutional rights and should be able to speak with their attorney or public defender as scheduled. We do understand these are unchartered times but we call on our courts to immediately allow our clients to speak with their criminal defense attorneys when able.

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