The METO Settlement
Shamus O'Meara: What Does a Settlement Agreement Cover?
Shamus O'Meara: There are a number of things that the settlement agreement covers. One of the most important is that the State of Minnesota has agreed not to use mechanical restraints—law enforcement handcuffs, leg irons, other means, mechanical means to restrain—on people with developmental disabilities at the METO program, as well as its successor, because the actual METO program has now been shut down and it's moved to a successor facility. That's really important.
And as part of that collaborative agreement to halt the use of handcuffs and leg irons, there's a reporting requirement under which the court will receive quarterly reports for the first two years of the settlement, as well as a third-party consultation as emergency situations are presenting themselves, so that we can use positive behavioral techniques and ways to mitigate the escalation of emergency situations so that restraint doesn't have to be the only option.
There are many other things that can be done to address behavioral concerns dealing with people with developmental disabilities. And the settlement agreement—I'm proud to say the parties all agree—is imbued with the recognition that positive behavioral techniques ought to be used as an emergency is presenting itself for these types of residents.
And it's a process that's in place in the settlement agreement. It's a process that I believe the State of Minnesota has bought into and has taken ownership over, and will be reported to the court on a regular basis so that we can be ensured that those promises are kept.