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LANDMARK COURT CASES

1975

New York State Association for Retarded Citizens et al. v. Carey et al., a class action brought against the state of New York in 1972, alleged multiple violations at the Willowbrook State School and Hospital on Staten Island. At the beginning of this lawsuit, Willowbrook housed 5,200 people and was 65% over the rated bed capacity. Allegations included:

  1. Most residents were confined for unspecified periods, usually until they recovered.
  2. Residents who should have been released were not.
  3. No habilitation was occurring to justify the confinement of residents.
  4. There was no individual habilitation plan for residents.
  5. There were no periodic evaluations of residents to assess their progress and redefine their goals and programs.
  6. There were no educational programs provided for residents.
  7. Services such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy were inadequate, if available at all.
  8. The facility was overcrowded.
  9. The residents had no privacy, and regulations to protect them from theft of personal property were nonexistent.
  10. The residents were not protected against assault and injury, either by other residents or staff.
  11. Experimentation was practiced on residents.
  12. Residents were not given adequate clothing.