Barnes v. Jeffreys, No. 20-cv-02137 (N.D. Ill. 2021)
Nature of Case: Plaintiffs were individuals incarcerated in Illinois for a sex offense and would otherwise be released on supervision but for their ability to find housing.
The Illinois Department of Corrections’ policy of only allowing one individual required to register to reside at any given address so long as they are on supervision effectively kept the Plaintiffs imprisoned beyond their release dates. The Plaintiffs brought a federal class action challenging this policy as unconstitutional under the 8th and 14th Amendments.
Holding: The federal trial court granted summary to the Plaintiffs, finding that the policy of only allowing one registrant to reside at an address on supervision violated the 8th Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment as well as the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection.
The Court found that the policy effectively kept people imprisoned past their release date if they could not afford to find their own housing such that indigent individuals were treated differently than non-indigent individuals.