The state of Texas is close to an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice on a plan to fix problems at the state’s institutions for people with disabilities, a state official says.

Last December the Justice Department threatened to sue the state over conditions at the facilities.

The plan that’s now in the works includes ramping up staff training, improved monitoring of residents’ medication and hiring more staff, including professionals like psychologists and dentists. Plus, independent monitors would be assigned to assess the progress of the plan.

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Officials say a deal could be reached within days. Such a plan would then need to be approved by the state’s legislature. However, if an agreement is not reached, the Justice Department may go forward with a lawsuit, reports the Austin American Statesman. To read more click here.

Currently Texas has 13 institutions called “state schools” which house almost 5,000 residents.

Since the Justice Department put the state on notice late last year, troubles at the facilities were again highlighted when videos surfaced in March showing staffers at the Corpus Christi State School in Corpus Christi, Texas forcing residents to fight each other.

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Previous stories on this topic:

Videos Of Texas Institution ‘Fight Club’ Show Forced Fights, Employees Laughing (May 12, 2009)

Changes Coming To Texas Institutions On Heels Of ‘Fight Club’ Allegations (March 13, 2009)

Alleged ‘Fight Club’ Uncovered At Texas Institution (March 10, 2009)

House Of Horrors: Texas Institutions Deplorable (December 4, 2008)