Senator Lowell Weicker and John Doyle

Selected segment from interview with Thomas McCann on MARC Matters Video Source: MARC inc. of Manchester

Senator Lowell Weicker: What you probably would guess they reported back. That the institutions were terrible and the treatment of people was terrible. And again here the advantage of having the hearing was this was broadcast all over the country.

The average American really never knew what went on inside these institutions, and it was high time they learned and that was the purpose of the hearing. To go ahead and demonstrate that far from any love or any care these people were just mistreated and horribly so. So that was the hearing and that's what came out of the hearing.

I know John Doyle, well we've got to let this guy speak. He can speak.

John Doyle: All right, well, the hearings as Senator Weicker said, produced results that were just astounding. They were awful. The Senator called the… to the carpet the man in the Justice Department who was supposed to be enforcing civil rights and point out to him how he wasn't doing it. The Senator called on the carpet the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services who was supposed to be enforcing the inspection of these facilities and wasn't doing it.

And as a result there was a whole new order of inspections, of trained personnel in the district offices and a new law for the protection of the mentally ill people which the Senator sponsored to address the conditions in the institutions. Having said that, that was sort of like putting a band-aid on a tumor. It wasn't going to cure it the only cure for those large institutions was what we've seen with Mansfield the closing and that's what the Senator did when he became Governor.

But in those days just to make it better there were several initiatives that the Senator proposed that became law and that were enforced.

John Doyle: All the institutions we looked at and we had one investigator, the Senator will remember, actually that worked undercover. He got a job in one of the institutions and he was there for 4 or 5 weeks. A man named Steve Snyder an experienced investigator. And every… We found instances of abuse and neglect at every institution that we visited across the country.