People With Disabilities Confined Involuntarily For Decades, Suit Alleges
A class action lawsuit filed Wednesday claims three Texas residents with intellectual disabilities have been institutionalized for a combined 130-plus years without any review of their placements and they may not be alone.
The lawsuit filed on behalf of 4,200 residents of Texas institutions identifies three plaintiffs by their initials who were placed at state facilities during their childhood or teenage years and never left.
Today the three have spent between 32 and 60 years each in state care, according to Advocacy, Inc., a nonprofit disability rights group that brought the case.
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None of the three have ever had an impartial judicial review to determine if they continue to need an institutional level of care, according to the lawsuit. Yet, professionals hired by the state have indicated that each of the three could be cared for in less restrictive environments.
“An entire class of citizens is being confined by the state of Texas, with no opportunity to challenge the need for continued institutionalization, despite changes in ability, commitment criteria and increased community services,” said Beth Mitchell, senior managing attorney at Advocacy Inc.
The lawsuit names Texas Gov. Rick Perry and a handful of other state officials as defendants.