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County reaches settlement in lawsuit

PRINCETON — Bureau County has settled a lawsuit filed against it last year by a former inmate of the Bureau County Jail.

Arick Buckles of Chicago filed the lawsuit in June 2012 claiming he was denied his needed and prescribed HIV medication when he was an inmate in the Bureau County Jail from Sept. 29-Oct. 6 in 2010.

As reported earlier in the Bureau County Republican, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), on behalf of Buckles, had contacted the Illinois Department of Corrections in 2011 to file a complaint against Bureau County Sheriff John Thompson and Bureau County. At that time, ACLU attorney John Knight said he was not ruling out a lawsuit.

As terms of the recent settlement agreement reached in the U.S. District Federal Court in Peoria, the Bureau County Sheriff’s Department agreed to alter four policies concerning medical care and privacy for prisoners at the jail. The sheriff’s department will conduct mandatory training for all jail staff to better inform personnel about HIV and the necessity of insuring continued access to medications for persons with HIV. The agreement also included a $20,000 payment to Buckles.

On Monday, Bureau County Sheriff John Thompson said the required training was to begin that day. Other than that, he has agreed not to make any further comments about the lawsuit or settlement agreement, upon the advise of the county’s attorneys in the case.

Thompson and Bureau County were represented in the case by the Peoria law firm of Heyl, Royster, Voelker and Allen.

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