Disability Rights California news and media coverage.
By Adolfo Guzman-Lopez
West Los Angeles College and the Los Angeles Community College District are defendants in a trial set to start on Tuesday that alleges the college and the district blocked three students’ access to an education...
SACRAMENTO – Secretary of State Alex Padilla has certified two new remote accessible vote-by-mail systems for use in California elections. California is the first state to certify these types of systems, which provide an accessible option for citizens with disabilities to mark their vote-by-mail ballots privately and independently...
"Despite Ann’s determination to betray no emotion, a drop of sweat rolled down her temple as a guard painstakingly examined her lunch items. That Sunday morning, she had taken two buses, two trains and a shuttle to get from her home to the New York state psychiatric facility where her son is confined. Frustrated, she pushed back a little, but just a little, when the guard took away two sealed bottles of fruit-flavored water, a special treat that Ann had made an extra stop to buy.
"Over 45,000 people with psychiatric or developmental disabilities died while living at a California state hospital or developmental center between the 1880’s and 1960’s. Many were buried anonymously in unmarked or mass graves and did not receive recognition or acknowledgment as human beings, in life or in death.
"Elisabeth Heflin is exhausted.
She’s been by her 15-year-old daughter Kaitlyn’s side while she suffers debilitating seizures. She administers Kaitlyn’s daily doses of medication and makes sure her feeding tubes are working properly. Kaitlyn receives nutrient-rich fluids intravenously at all hours of the day and night. Heflin, a single mom, is her daughter’s round the clock caregiver.
"Facing criticism from parents over the decision to house students in the Adult Transition Program (ATP) in two portable classrooms on the new Earl Warren Middle School campus, the San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHSD) invited parents to to tour the facility and participate in a special meeting July 28 on the campus.
"An 80-year-old dementia patient fell from his bed and died at Valley Convalescent Hospital in February, something a state public health investigation determined this month came as a direct result of poor care at that facility.
"One out of every 100 special education students was restrained by school personnel or secluded in school from his or her peers in the 2013-14 school year, presumably to quell behavior that teachers considered disruptive or dangerous.
Why GAO Did This Study
"The number of individuals with disabilities under age 18 receiving SSI benefits increased by about 44 percent from 2000 through 2016. Youth ages 14 to 17 with disabilities face many challenges achieving self-sufficiency as they transition to adulthood. GAO was asked to examine SSA's efforts to encourage employment for these transition-age youth.
"South LA Strangulation Still Haunts Detective
"I can only imagine the fear he must've had as this was happening to him. And the fact that he suffered," he said.
"OAKLAND — People in the industry call it “housing of last resort.”
Scattered throughout Alameda County, there are perhaps 200 to 300 such facilities — some in the form of single-family homes tucked into quiet residential neighborhoods or single-room occupancy hotels dotting downtown Oakland, Hayward, Berkeley and Alameda. Still others are nondescript apartment buildings lining main streets in East and West Oakland. The one thing most have in common is the people living there have few other options.
"Some of the victims can't speak. They rely on walkers and wheelchairs to leave their beds. They have been robbed of their memories. They come to nursing homes to be cared for.
"Armando Reagan was 30 when he bled to death, rushed from a Southern California nursing home as blood soaked his sheets, pooled on the floor and as he pleaded with staff: “Help! Help! I do not want to die!” according to state public health records.
"For decades, patients who entered the gates of California mental hospitals were all but cut off from the rest of society – even after death.
From the 1880s into the 1960s, the lives of about 45,000 patients at Napa State Hospital and other state institutions ended not with a casket and headstone, but with unmarked graves or the scattering of anonymous ashes in obscure fields.
"Below a simple granite headstone in a peaceful section of the Russian River Cemetery in Ukiah lie the remains of hundreds of people, a reminder of a dark, 80-year period during which people confined to the local state mental hospital during life were, after death, buried in unmarked graves, then forgotten.
“Let no person ever be laid to rest without recognition,” the headstone reads in part.
"Today, more than 1 million students are trapped in an education system that wasn’t built for them. That system wasn’t designed to accommodate their disabilities—the kinds of intellectual, cognitive, communicative, and physical conditions that often conjure images of people reliant on wheelchairs and aides, of individuals consigned to dreary, isolated lives. Many of the public schools they attend rest on the assumption that those stereotypes are inevitable truths."
"The Sonoma Developmental Center is losing millions more in federal funding that likely will have to be made up by California taxpayers after health officials discovered a disabled patient in February hooked up to an empty oxygen tank, triggering decertification of several units.
The patient did not suffer lasting harm as a result of the snafu, according to officials. But the incident has profound implications for the Eldridge facility near Glen Ellen, including the loss of an estimated $26 million in federal funds that would have gone toward patient care.
"While acknowledging some of the shortcomings in the mental health unit of the Sonoma County Jail highlighted this week by a statewide disability rights agency’s report, county mental health and jail officials insisted the level of care exceeds that at other California jails or across the country.
The most serious allegations in the 25-page report released by Disability Rights California included illegally medicating some inmates and using excessive solitary confinement and isolation with others."
"A new report by the advocacy group Disability Rights California says that Sonoma County's main jail is not providing adequate care for inmates with mental health disabilities. The report, based on a 2015 inspection, found that many prisoners are isolated for more than 23 hours a day, and in some cases, are inappropriately medicated against their will. County officials say they are doing all they can to address the burgeoning population of mentally ill inmates and point to a dramatic increase in spending for mental health treatment. We discuss the report."
"Last August, Anne Hadreas toured Sonoma County's main jail in Santa Rosa to check on the treatment of inmates there.
Hadreas is an attorney for Disability Rights California, an agency that monitors conditions for mentally ill and disabled people in jails, state hospitals and other facilities. She's visited lots of those facilities, but what she saw in Sonoma County still came as a shock.
When Hadreas and several other attorneys got to what the jail calls its mental health module, they were confronted by highly delusional inmates screaming and crawling on the floor."