Tuesday, August 26, 2008

DOJ investigates civil rights violations of people with disabilities at closing center in Maryland

From The Baltimore Sun:

The U.S. Justice Department has launched an investigation of the long-troubled Rosewood Center in Maryland to determine whether conditions at the state's largest facility for profoundly disabled adults violate the residents' civil rights.

Although the institution is set to close next summer, federal authorities will look into the treatment of residents, including safety issues and medical care, along with plans for their placement in the community, according to a letter sent to Gov. Martin O'Malley.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined Aug. 19 to discuss details of the investigation, but state officials said federal investigators have requested
numerous documents pertaining to policies, procedures and behavior-management
techniques, as well as meeting minutes and staffing organizational charts.

Those officials said conditions at Rosewood have improved significantly since reports last year of serious problems at the Owings Mills facility. The reported problems included a resident with a history of violence who stabbed another resident with a knife he stole on a field trip, patients receiving inadequate nutrition from feeding tubes and a woman who did not receive medical care for two weeks after ripping off her toenails.