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Case Name CRIPA Investigation of Howe Developmental Center (2009) ID-IL-0006
Docket / Court docket unknown ( No Court )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Intellectual Disability (Facility)
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
In 2007, the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division ("DOJ") opened this investigation into the W. A. Howe Developmental Center ("Howe"), which was located approximately thirty miles outside of Chicago, in Tinley Park, Illinois. At the time, Howe housed 349 adult residents. The DOJ initiated ... read more >
In 2007, the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division ("DOJ") opened this investigation into the W. A. Howe Developmental Center ("Howe"), which was located approximately thirty miles outside of Chicago, in Tinley Park, Illinois. At the time, Howe housed 349 adult residents. The DOJ initiated the investigation pursuant to its authority under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act.

This was not the first investigation of Howe conducted by the DOJ. In 1992, after a multiyear investigation of Howe, the DOJ entered into a consent decree with the State of Illinois regarding necessary improvements to the facility. Specifically, the consent decree required Howe to make improvements in the areas of resident assessment, evaluation, and training; use of restraints; medical care; medication administration; record keeping; and staffing. However, in 1996, the DOJ stipulated to an agreed order to terminate the consent decree and dismiss the case.

In 2006, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ("CMS") placed Howe in "immediate jeopardy" of losing Medicaid certification due to serious deficiencies identified at the facility. One year later, CMS did in fact terminate Howe's Medicaid contract. At that time, Medicaid funding provided approximately one-half of Howe's $53 million annual budget. Howe was still decertified at the time of the DOJ's finding letter in November 2009. The DOJ decided to initiate the second CRIPA investigation after receiving substantial allegations of new or continuing violations at the facility.

DOJ toured the facility in December 2007, and issued a findings letter to the Illinois Governor at the time, Pat Quinn, on November 9, 2009. Meanwhile, in 2008, after the investigation had been conducted but before the findings letter was issued, the State of Illinois announced its intention to close Howe by June 30, 2009. While the State did halt closure planning for some time, it announced its final decision to close Howe and complete all resident transitions by April 2010.

In the 2009 findings letter, the DOJ explained that numerous conditions and practices at Howe violated the constitutional and federal statutory rights of its residents. Specifically, DOJ found that Howe failed to provide residents with adequate: (1) protection from harm; (2) health care; (3) psychiatric care; (4) behavioral treatment and habilitation; (5) integrated treatment planning; and (6) transition planning and placement in the most integrated setting.

The letter went on to propose a vast array of remedial measures to address the deficiencies in the six areas discussed above. The DOJ explicitly noted that while the State had announced its plan to close the facility, the constitutional and statutory violations would have continuing effects, and the State had an obligation to provide relief to the residents of Howe in whatever setting they would eventually reside in.

According to a report by the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Howe Developmental Center did eventually close on June 21, 2010. The 181 residents present at the time were moved to other State Operated Developmental Centers. It seems as if the DOJ did not take any additional steps to bring a lawsuit against Howe. The investigation appears to be closed as it is listed under the archives category on the DOJ website.

Chris Pollack - 03/07/2019

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Hospital/Health Department
Integrated setting
Least restrictive environment
Classification / placement
Habilitation (training/treatment)
Individualized planning
Informed consent/involuntary medication
Placement in detention facilities
Placement in mental health facilities
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Medical/Mental Health
Intellectual/Developmental Disability
Medical care, general
Medical care, unspecified
Medication, administration of
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Special Case Type
Type of Facility
Causes of Action Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. ยง 1997 et seq.
Defendant(s) Illinois
W. A. Howe Developmental Center
Plaintiff Description Department of Justice Civil Rights Division
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filed 2009
Case Closing Year 2010
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  Review of the Use of Monitors in Civil Settlement Agreements and Consent Decrees Involving State and Local Government Entities
U.S. Department of Justice
Date: 9/13/2021
By: Attorney General Merrick Garland and Assoc. AG Vanita Gupta (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

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

Court Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
not recorded
Re: Investigation of the W.A. Howe Developmental Center, Tinley Park, Illinois
ID-IL-0006-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
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Plaintiff's Lawyers Fitzgerald, Patrick J. (Illinois) show/hide docs
Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs

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