A district court for the Central District of Illinois granted summary judgment in favor of our client, Plaintiff Jacqueline Farris, holding that the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act when it excluded her from a “boot camp” program because she takes medication for anxiety.
The boot camp program allows participants to achieve a sentence of time served after completing a military-like basic training program. Our client was approved for admission into the program and was waiting for a spot to become available when she became the victim of an assault that caused her to suffer anxiety. Following this incident, Ms. Farris was prescribed anti-anxiety medications.
The IDOC then alerted Ms. Farris that she would not be able to join the boot camp program after all. It did this because of a policy IDOC has put into place prohibiting any individual who has been prescribed mental health medication from participating in the program.
The district court found that the IDOC’s policy was a per se violation of the ADA. The ADA and the regulations implementing it prohibit public entities like the IDOC from excluding individuals with disabilities from accessing their programs. The district court found that the IDOC’s policy by its terms violated the ADA and that the IDOC was liable to Plaintiff for the violation.