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Health Care

Culture of Cruelty

Inside Illinois’ Mental Health System

State-run facilities in Illinois are supposed to care for people with mental and developmental disabilities. But patients have been subjected to abuse, neglect and staff misconduct for decades, despite calls for change.

Impact of Our Reporting
Caret

Culture of Cruelty

Choate Director Replaced as New Report Says Abuse at the Facility Hasn’t Stopped

A new report by an advocacy agency details how abuse and neglect at Choate have continued despite calls for and promises of reform. Now, the Illinois Department of Human Services has reversed its decision to keep Choate’s top leadership in place.

Local Reporting Network

Culture of Cruelty

Health Care Workers Who Cover Up Patient Abuse Face Stiffer Penalties Under New Illinois Law

The legislation, spurred by a news investigation, allows workers to be barred from health care jobs for obstructing investigations into staff misconduct. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the bill on Friday.

Local Reporting Network

Culture of Cruelty

Illinois to Relocate at Least Half of Residents in Facility Plagued by Abuse and Cover-Ups

Officials acknowledged that news reporting had put a spotlight on conditions at the center for people with developmental disabilities and mental illnesses. “Significant changes” are needed, the governor says.

Local Reporting Network

Culture of Cruelty

Legislators Demand Hearings on Illinois Mental Health Facility Where Staff Abused Patients and Covered It Up

Repeated investigations of the center have revealed patients who were beaten and humiliated by staff, and staff who lied to cover up their actions.

Local Reporting Network

Culture of Cruelty

Watchdog Seeks Harsher Penalties in Wake of Abuse at Illinois Mental Health Center

The official cited investigations into a center for people with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities, where workers lied or conspired to thwart patient abuse inquiries.

Local Reporting Network

Culture of Cruelty

Illinois Governor Calls for Changes After “Awful” Reports of Abuse at Developmental Center

Gov. J.B. Pritzker resisted, but did not rule out, a call to close Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center in southern Illinois after we found widespread problems.

Local Reporting Network

A Security Camera Caught an Employee Beating a Patient. It Took 11 Days for Anyone to Take Action.

In Crisis, She Went to an Illinois Facility. Two Years Later, She Still Isn’t Able to Leave.

“Culture of Cruelty” Wins Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability

Illinois Leaves Three Administrators in Charge at Choate Despite Troubled History of Resident Care

Problems With Abuse, Neglect and Cover-Ups at Choate Extend to Other Developmental Centers in Illinois

ProPublica and Partners Win 2023 RFK Journalism Award

New Report Says Nurses at Illinois Facility Forced Patients to Dig Through Their Own Feces

Patients Went to This Isolated Facility for Treatment. Instead, Nearly Two Dozen Were Charged With Crimes.

Report Finds “Code of Silence” at Mental Health Facility Where Staff Abused and Neglected Patients

Chilling Audio Provides Rare Glimpse Into Abuse at Troubled Illinois Residential Facility

At a Remote Mental Health Facility, a Culture of Cruelty Persists Despite Decades of Warnings

A Disabled Young Patient Was Sent to Get Treatment. He Was Abused Instead. And He Wasn’t the Last.