7 Figure Settlement in Death Case

On April 3, 2014, People’s Law Office attorneys obtained a seven-figure settlement for the family of Hassiba Belbachir, who died in McHenry County Jail.


Hassiba Belbachir was a vibrant 27 year old Algerian Muslim woman who died on March 17, 2005, abandoned and alone on the cold floor of a cell in immigration detention at McHenry County Jail.

Hassiba was intensely depressed and suicidal, which was acknowledged by a jail social worker and other inmates and staff.  However, the McHenry County Jail failed to put her on suicide watch or provide her the care that could have saved her life.

It is important to place Ms. Belbachir’s tragic and untimely death in the context of the expansion of immigration detention which routinely violates the human and civil rights of detainees, while it is seen as a profitable business by jail administrators. Her death in 2005 took place on the eve of the opening of a large unit to house ICE detainees in McHenry County, funded with more than $6 million in federal tax dollars. By 2009, by the sheriff’s own admission, renting jail cells to ICE netted the county some $55 million.

To learn about more successes People’s Law Office has achieved for their clients, visit the Victories section of this site.

For more information about People’s Law Office’s work on this issue, visit the Jail and Prison page on this site