Nursing homes are a ‘perfect place’ for fugitives

During a recent raid of Virgil Calvert Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, an Illinois nursing home, state Attorney General Lisa Madigan along other local authorities nabbed a 61-year-old who was wanted on an active Missouri drug warrant.

The raid was part of Madigan’s “Operation Compliance,” a program designed to improve the safety of nursing home residents in Illinois. Since the inception of Operation Compliance in late 2009, the program has identified 61 people statewide with active warrants living freely amongst the general nursing home population. Seventeen of the people with outstanding warrants were arrested on the spot.

Many of the criminals nabbed during the raids are able-bodied and/or younger people. In the case of the Virgil Calvert criminal, Madigan seemed to indicate that this particular individual stood out from your typical nursing home resident. “He knew he was wanted. He seemed perfectly able-bodied. These nursing homes have been turning out to be the perfect place for hiding out,” added Madigan’s spokeswoman Cara Smith.

Thus far, the raids have been conducted at just 12 out of the more than 1,200 long-term care facilities in Illinois. While I’m sure there is good reasoning behind the attorney general’s selection of these 12 facilities, it is scary to think of how many criminals may be living amongst the fragile nursing home population on a statewide basis.

Nursing homes have a duty to provide a safe environment for their residents. Hopefully, raids such as this will encourage nursing homes across the state to implement more stringent programs to screen residents—particularly the able-bodied people who are easily capable of harming the disabled.

Jonathan Rosenfeld is a lawyer who represents people injured in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Jonathan has represented victims of nursing home abuse and neglect throughout Illinois and across the country. Visit his personal blog at

and his Web site


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