Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hundred of employees have mistreated residents of Texas facilities

From the Associated Press article in the Houston Chronicle

More than 800 employees at Texas’ 13 large facilities for the mentally and developmentally disabled have been suspended or fired for abusing residents since fiscal year 2004, state officials said Tuesday in response to an open records request from the Associated Press.

......... The revelations come a month after Gov. Rick Perry’s office confirmed that the civil rights department at the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating allegations of abuse and neglect at the Denton State School, the state’s largest with about 650 residents. It’s at least the second such investigation into state facilities, including one at the Lubbock State School in 2006 that revealed widespread abuse.

An advocate for people with disabilities called the number of employees disciplined “stunning.”

“It indicates to me that there is clearly a culture of abuse or neglect in these facilities,” said Jeff Garrison-Tate, president of San Antonio-based Community Now. “The bottom line is people are getting really injured, and they are not safe,” he said.