The DEI Podcast, Episode 5: The Mental Health Crisis in Prisons

Author: Max Gaston

Ep 5

What happens to a person’s mind when you lock them in a cage no bigger than a parking space? When they’re constantly exposed to dehumanizing, unsanitary, loud, and violent conditions? When red-flags continuously signal their mental decline, but no one cares or tries to help?

On this episode of the DEI Podcast with Max Gaston, we’re joined by Madison Kemker, an attorney with the Uptown People’s Law Center in Chicago and one of Notre Dame Law School’s Thomas L. Shaffer Public Interest Fellows from the Class of 2022. Madison discusses her experiences witnessing the state of mental health services in Illinois prisons. Madison also discusses her advocacy work in Rasho v. Jeffries, a class-action lawsuit against the Illinois Department of Corrections alleging that the quality of mental health services in Illinois state prisons is so poor that it violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Madison then talks about the public interest path in law school, and how the legacy of Notre Dame calls all of us to be advocates for civil and human rights.

Click here to read about the Rasho v. Jeffries litigation and what is being done to address the mental health crisis in Illinois prisons.

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