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CA Watch: Abuse Cases at Developmental Centers
On February 23 California Watch released its investigation, citing more than 850 cases over the last few years of abuse and unexplained injuries of people with developmental disabilities living in the state's remaining residential centers. Hardly any of the cases have led to prosecution. The investigation focuses on the state's reliance on an in-house police force, operated by the Office of Protective Services, that has overseen a steep rise in injuries while the actual population at the centers has declined. Although many cases of abuse were documented, few appear to have been reported to the police.
The lead article by Ryan Gabrielson (www.CaliforniaWatch.org) mentions a 2005 DRC study of unexplained genital lacerations among male residents of one of the developmental centers and quotes DRC investigations director Leslie Morrison. On February 24, during a KQED panel discussion of the findings, Assembly Member Jim Beall said he will explore holding field hearings at the centers, together with the Attorney General's office. State Senator Carol Liu announced her interest in investigative hearings as well. The five state centers house around 1800 people and are based in Sonoma, Riverside, Los Angeles, Tulare and Orange counties.