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Latham Honored With Outstanding Achievement Award for Pro Bono Efforts

June 29, 2023
The firm was recognized by the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for its pro bono efforts in investigating the conditions at a high-security federal prison in Illinois.

Latham & Watkins is honored to be recognized with a 2023 Outstanding Achievement Award by the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for our work investigating the conditions in the “Special Management Unit” at the United States Penitentiary Thomson (USP Thomson), a high-security federal prison located in Illinois.

For nearly a year, a cross-office team of almost two dozen lawyers and paralegals worked with the Uptown People’s Law Center and Washington Lawyers’ Committee to investigate the conditions and treatment of people at USP Thomson. The investigation revealed widespread abuse, routine use of painful and scarring restraints, excessive use of solitary confinement, inadequate mental health care, and routine racist language by Thomson personnel.  In the face of this and other investigations, the US Bureau of Prisons (BOP) decided in January 2023 to shut down the “Special Management Unit” at USP Thomson and move incarcerated people to other facilities.

“The BOP’s decision to end the use of these harsh and abusive practices at USP Thomson is a welcome first step to ending these practices across the United States,” said partner Kevin Metz, “We are honored to be recognized for our pro bono contributions, and are proud of our longstanding partnership with the Washington Lawyers’ Committee.”