A quarter century after a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision affirming the rights of people with disabilities to live in the community, federal officials are cracking down on Americans with Disabilities Act violations in multiple states.

The Department of Justice announced in recent days that investigations found that both Utah and Missouri are unnecessarily segregating people with disabilities. In addition, the agency took actions in Alaska, Ohio and Alabama to uphold the rights of voters with disabilities.

The moves come as the nation marks the 25th anniversary of the high court’s decision in Olmstead v. L.C. In the case, the Supreme Court found that unjustified segregation of people with disabilities is discriminatory under the ADA. The court ruled that states must provide services in the community when appropriate to individuals with disabilities if they do not oppose it and if community-based services can be “reasonably accommodated.”

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In Utah, the Justice Department found that the state is violating the ADA by “unnecessarily segregating adults and youth with I/DD in employment and day service settings that prevent them from interacting with people without disabilities to the fullest extent possible.”

The state relies too heavily on sheltered workshops and day programs where people with disabilities have little choice about how to spend their time, federal officials said. What’s more, the investigation concluded that youth with disabilities are at risk of unnecessary segregation when they transition to adult services.

The Justice Department pointed to guidance it issued last year addressing how the requirements of the Olmstead opinion apply to publicly-funded employment and day services.

“Full inclusion in society is a central promise of the ADA,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “People with intellectual and developmental disabilities are entitled to full inclusion, and to the dignity and purpose that comes with deciding where to work and how to spend their days.”

Meanwhile, in Missouri, federal officials found the state violated the ADA by unnecessarily institutionalizing adults with mental health disabilities in nursing facilities. The Justice Department determined that the state is not providing the community-based services necessary to meet people’s needs and is relying too heavily on guardianships leading people who should be able to be served in the community to wind up in nursing facilities instead.

A separate investigation found that Alaska is discriminating against voters with disabilities by failing to provide an accessible ballot, selecting inaccessible polling places and having an inaccessible elections website. The Justice Department also filed statements of interest in cases in Ohio and Alabama regarding the right of people with disabilities to receive assistance when voting.

Shira Wakschlag, senior director of legal advocacy and general counsel at The Arc, said her group welcomed the flurry of activity from the Justice Department.

“Each action represents important progress to realizing the promise of Olmstead and ensuring that people with disabilities can live in the communities of their choice with the supports they need to thrive,” she said.

However, Maria Town, president and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities, noted that the government’s findings highlight the many barriers that remain and that “fulfilling Olmstead’s promise of integration requires constant monitoring and accountability.”

“While I am glad that the Department of Justice has investigated and taken action to uphold disabled people’s Olmstead civil rights, it is devastating that 25 years after the decision, disabled advocates’ demands for true, full integration are still unfulfilled,” she said. “So many of these cases coming out at the same time also raises questions about what is happening where these violations go unreported or (are) better hidden across the country.”

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