In “Shut Them Down,” DRW calls out Washington’s RHCs for repeatedly showing that when major problems are discovered, they do not act swiftly or make lasting changes that prevent future harm, even when failing to remedy legal violations costs lives. The issues called out by DRW in previous reports in 2017, 2018, and 2019 have not been fixed – people with developmental disabilities are still languishing, sometimes for decades, in segregated institutions where they are continually at risk for verbal, physical, and sexual abuse and neglect.
ADDENDUM REPORT: SPOKANE
In addition to DRW’s investigation into criminalization of patients in crisis in Seattle described in From Hospital to Handcuffs, DRW also looked into similar incidents in Spokane. The result of the Spokane investigation is an addendum report that should be read together with From Hospital to Handcuffs. DRW found many of the same concerns around ineffective arrest and prosecution of patients in crisis in Spokane as it did in Seattle, but Spokane also presented its own specific issues and resulting recommendations.
In From Hospitals to Handcuffs, DRW found that hospital calls to police resulted in at least two patients per week being arrested, removed from treatment, and booked into jail. In most of these cases, there was no visible injury to a victim. These arrests lead to sick people stuck in jail for weeks or months, decompensating, with decreased access to needed health care. Many of the criminal cases are ultimately dismissed precisely because the person’s mental health is so compromised.
In Chaotic and Dangerous, Disability Rights Washington’s latest report on the state-run Rainier School, DRW has found that Washington continues to put people with developmental disabilities at serious risk of harm. The report also identifies systemic failures at the institution, making clear its problems are not caused by a few bad apples, but rather grow from organizational structures that require drastic transformation by Washington State.
“No More Excuses: Shining a spotlight on abuse and neglect of people with developmental disabilities living at Rainier” sheds light on the pattern of unsafe conditions and lack of treatment occurring at Rainier, as identified in the state’s own surveys. While most of this information is publically available, it is apparent that the problems continue and meaningful change is needed. This report synthesizes a single year’s worth of information to call attention to the serious harm that continues to occur.
“No Excuses: Shining a light on abuse and neglect of people with developmental disabilities in Washington’s institutions” sheds light on the pattern of unsafe conditions and lack of treatment in Washington’s Residential Habilitation Centers (RHCs), as identified in the State’s own surveys. This report synthesizes a single year’s worth of information to call attention to the serious harm that continues to occur. These systemic failures endanger people with developmental disabilities in all of the RHCs and cannot continue, as there are no excuses for these failures.
Washington’s system for responding to abuse and neglect of adults is currently failing to provide the protection that adults with disabilities need in order to live safely and with dignity. This report describes how the effectiveness of investigations is compromised by poorly conducted investigations, low substantiation rates, and lack of adequate policies and resources. This report also discusses other related issues including assessment of allegations, enforcement of mandatory reporting statutes, and the protection of alleged victims of abuse during ongoing investigations.