Disability Rights Report: An Important Investigation

We are honoring Alison Lynch’s efforts in developing this important report:

Thanks to Michael Perlin for sending the following message:

One of the dreariest and most banal tropes in the whole conversation about the “criminalization of persons with mental disabilities” is the reactionary call to the time when so many more people were institutionalized in psychiatric hospitals. That argument has surface appeal, but it has always been tragically flawed (I represented this population for over a decade years ago, and the deficiencies in the hospitals then — unconstitutional conditions were found in virtually every case ever litigated — still persist).

The attached press release and link — the culmination of a two year investigation by Disability Rights New York (DRNY) and NY’s Mental Hygiene Legal Services (MHLS)– uncovered evidence demonstrating an unusually high usage of mechanical restraints on patients at Bellevue Hospital Center as compared to other public hospitals in New York City.

I attach the link here so that those interested can read the entire report. This is, I think, important to the Human Dignity community on so many levels and I wanted to make sure that no one missed it. One of our HDHN colleagues, Alison Lynch — cc’d here — is a staff attorney at DRNY; she was directly involved with the investigation of conditions at Bellevue and the drafting of this report. Alison has been writing frequently with me, and on her own, in recent years, exploring the impact of shame and humiliation on persons with mental disabilities, both in institutions and in the communities. The humiliation that comes from being forcibly restrained – often for extended periods of time – should be clear to all, and it is clearly so antithetical to the sort of dignity that we wish to see in all of society.

I hope this is of interest to many on your email lists and LISTSERV, and I wanted to share this with you.

All the best,

Michael Perlin

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