Dehumanization and the Total Institution
A 1966 spy-themed cartoon story to eliminate Agent D, whose de-humanizing policies enable a small staff to control the actions of a much larger resident group in institutions for the mentally ill.
In 1966, a news report shows the disgust and amazement of a member of Congress as he discovered first-hand the miserable living conditions in New York's Willowbrook institution.
Excerpts from "Willowbrook 2, After 10 Years"
In 1997, reporter Geraldo Rivera found that misinformation and neighborhood opposition to group homes often limited the number of community living options for former institution residents.
Gunnar Dybwad On Normalization
In 1988, Gunnar Dybwad described how some institutions served dinner at 3 p.m. so staff could get home to eat dinner with their families. Normalization made it so people in institutions lived like other people do.
Aversive Conditioning: Gunnar and Rosemary Dybwad
In 1987, Drs. Rosemary and Gunnar Dybwad describe the discovery of untrained staff using cattle prods, squirting lemon juice in the eyes, and pinching institutionalized people in order to control behavior.
Abandoned To Their Fate: Self Sufficient Institution
In the 1970s, institutions became self-sufficient, with residents making their own clothes and growing the institution's food.
Abandoned To Their Fate: Community Vocational Programs
In the 1970s, activities in institutions included ceramics and crafts classes for residents.
Karen Gorr's Personal Story
Karen Gorr describes her life experience, from her childhood in an institution, to going to public school and college, and now being a teacher and happily married mother.
Abuse in Institutional Settings
From 1982: Unprompted, people who previously lived in institutions reveal there was almost a universality of abuse. And we're surprised when institutional staff don't meet our expectations.
In 1999, several former residents of the Fairview, Oregon institution describe their everyday lives there, which included sexual abuse, physical injury, fear, and chronic neglect.
From the 1980s. See archive photos of institution life, with a mother's call for families to keep their children with disabilities living at home, with them.
In 1971, life at California's Sonora State Hospital was described from the perspectives of people who used to live and work there. "Your day is when the light stays on. Your night is when the light goes off."
Ray Loomis: Jefferson Award Winner
In 1979, Ray Loomis and other former residents at institutions, along with their spouses and other family members, told of how bad the conditions were inside.
Throw Away the Key (Rosewood State Hospital in Maryland)
This news report from the early 1970s looks at the deplorable conditions, overworked staff, and tranquilized residents at Maryland's Rosewood State Hospital. "These people are inmates, not patients."
David Braddock: Bad Stock Option
In 2006, statistician David Braddock delivered a presentation showing how the value of institutions is going down, down, down. "If it were a stock, it would clearly be not the way to go."
Dr. Lou Brown: The ultimate reality of institutions
In 1987, Dr. Lou Brown describes the cumulative effect on him after years of giving daily workshops and lectures at various institutions across the country.
Dr. Lou Brown: Political compromise: Who gets to leave first and who may never get to leave
In 1987, Dr. Lou Brown said closing an institution is like closing a military base: it's a major local employer and it's bad news for people who have jobs there.
Dr. Lou Brown: The wrongness of institutions and at what cost
In 1987, Dr. Lou Brown shared the two viewpoints of whether to move people from institutions to the community: "The institution's been their home; let them die there" or "let them live someplace else."
Dr. Lou Brown: The Deinstitutionalization Era
In 1987 Dr. Lou Brown said, "If you've seen atrocities in 50 institutions, you know they're going to be there in the 51st. Our rule was we'll drop everything and break our backs to help you deinstitutionalize."
John Johnson Part 1: Life at Faribault and Owatonna Institutions
In 2001, John Johnson described his 55 years of living in institutions.
John Johnson Part 2: One of the First Former Residents Who Lived and Worked Independently
In 2001, John Johnson described that after 55 years of living in institutions, he now lives on his own in the community.
Milt Conrath Part 1
In 2001, Milt Conrath, Dakota County Administrator, speaks of the conditions at Greenbriar Home in St. Paul during the 1970s.
Milt Conrath Part 2: Giving Up Your Child in Order to Receive Services
In 2001 Milt Conrath, Dakota County Administrator, described how, in earlier days, parents had to commit their child to the system in order to receive services.
In 2001 Miriam Karlins, a former official of the Minnesota Department of Public Welfare, explained that dehumanizing environments originated more from staff behaviors than from impersonal buildings.
Anne Henry Part 1: Restraint and Seclusion at State Hospitals
In 2001 Anne Henry, of the Minnesota Disability Law Center and plaintiff counsel in the Welsch case, described seclusion rooms and restraints used on residents in the 1970s.
Anne Henry Part 2
In 2001 Anne Henry, plaintiff counsel in the Welsch case, described residents' lack of interaction with others in the 1970s, and the plaintiff's strategy to remove children from institutions.
Anne Henry Part 3: Getting Children Out of Institutions
In 2001 Anne Henry, of the Minnesota Disability Law Center and plaintiff counsel in the Welsch case, described the plaintiff strategy to first remove children from institutions.
Luther Granquist Part 1: The 45th Anniversary of the Welsch Case Beginning
In 2001 Luther Granquist, of the Minnesota Disability Law Center and plaintiff counsel in the Welsch case, described the horrendous conditions at Faribault and Cambridge institutions in the 1970s.
In 2001 Luther Granquist, plaintiff counsel in the Welsch case, described horrendous conditions and "structured inactivity" at Faribault and Cambridge institutions in the 1970s.
In 2001, Eleanor Welsch described the inhumane treatment her daughter Patty endured at Cambridge State Hospital, which led to the family's landmark federal lawsuit in 1972.
Eleanor Welsch Part 2: The Cambridge Experience
In 2001, Eleanor Welsch described the inhumane treatment her daughter Patty endured at Cambridge State Hospital, and the difficulties the family had during her home visits.
Self Advocates: Restraint
In 2012, self-advocate David Donnelly remembers when he was in an institution and being restrained because a staff member didn't let him get his own coffee.
Roberta Opheim OMHDD: Introduction
In 2012, Roberta Opheim said the Office of Ombudsman is a state agency that receives citizen complaints about professional care received for mental illness, chemical dependency, and emotional disturbance.
Roberta Opheim OMHDD: The Initial Call
In 2012, ombudsman official Roberta Opheim said they began their facility investigaion because of calls by families voicing concern over the amount of restraint and the use of law enforcement handcuffs.
Roberta Opheim OMHDD: OMHDD Investigation at METO
In 2012, ombudsman official Roberta Opheim said an investigation of one facility documented that 75 percent of the individuals had been restrained, and many of them had been restrained multiple times.
Roberta Opheim OMHDD: Behavior is Communication
In 2012, Roberta Opheim said their facility review team took it to heart how behavior is communication. "When a resident's behavior was communicating frustration, often he or she was put in restraints."
Roberta Opheim OMHDD: Improving the Communication with Families
In 2012, ombudsman official Roberta Opheim said many families felt alienated by staff and weren't listened to; and if they objected, sometimes their amount of visiting time with their loved one was cut back.
Roberta Opheim OMHDD: The Problem with Using Restraints
In 2012, ombudsman official Roberta Opheim said one facility's policy was for restraint to last no more than 50 minutes. Often, people spend all that time fighting against the restraint and never calm down.
Roberta Opheim OMHDD: The Minnesota Department of Health Report
In 2012, ombudsman official Roberta Opheim said one facility's programming was so ingrained in their philosophy that they were unwilling to see the obvious problems with that type of programming.
Roberta Opheim OMHDD: METO's Position on the Use of Restraints
In 2012, ombudsman official Roberta Opheim said one facility's justification for using restraints was based on law enforcement research on establishing control of a scene with a suspect of unknown behaviors.
Roberta Opheim OMHDD: Findings from the Investigation
In 2012, ombudsman official Roberta Opheim said the attitude about restraint at one facility was very punitive, that staff emphasized to residents that being restrained was their own fault.
Pamela Hoopes: Procedures For Use of Restraints
In 2012, attorney Pamela Hoopes said the METO settlement agreement requires positive intervention training and behavioral supports, to eliminate use of restraints and seclusion throughout the state system.
Steve Larson: What Went Wrong?
In 2012 Steve Larson, of The Arc of Minnesota, said a culture developed at the METO facility whereby it was acceptable to use handcuffs, leg shackles and seclusion, with intimidation used to silence people.
Jim Conroy: The Paradox of Accreditation
In 2011, quality outcomes specialist Jim Conroy said there's a paradox of accreditation: institutions might be fully accredited by federal standards, but you would not want anybody you loved to live there. Ever.
Jim Conroy Standards of Quality for Institutions
In 2011, quality outcomes specialist Jim Conroy said the mid-70s standards of quality for the 293 institutions in America were all about process: number of staff, square footage per person, etc., not quality of life.
Jim Conroy: Total Care Institutional Problems
In 2011, quality outcomes specialist Jim Conroy said institutions providing total care used to be based on either religious, professional, or medical models, but all three of those were models of domination.
Derrick Dufresne: The Use of Shock
In 2012, Derrick Dufresne said he was once assigned to buy a cattle prod for use on a resident. "I first used it on myself, then made all the clinicians use it on themselves. Then I said, 'This program is dead.'"
In 2005, Dr. Bill Bronston and colleagues discussed their personal experiences surrounding the closing of Willowbrook State School, dramatically changing lives of people with developmental disabilities.
Bill Bronston and Friends: Introductions
In 2005, Dr. Bill Bronston introduced a series of cutting edge leaders to describe who they were, what they felt was really changed, and what was not changed at the Willowbrook institution.
Bill Bronston and Friends: Gene Eisner Introduction
In 2005 lawyer Gene Eisner recalled that he had formed his own firm so he could get involved with radical cases and knew from the beginning that he would absolutely take on Willowbrook as a cause.
Bill Bronston and Friends: First Encounter and Collision
In 2005, Gene Eisner described how Geraldo Rivera, a young TV reporter who was previously a lawyer, decided to go in with his cameras because word was out about conditions at Willowbrook.
Bill Bronston and Friends: Conference at Staten Island
In 2005, Dr. Bill Bronston recalled how parents, social workers, human rights activists, and class-action lawyers gathered at a Staten Island monastery to work out how to resolve the Willowbrook situation.
Bill Bronston and Friends: Pennhurst - Ed Goldman
In 2005, Ed Goldman recalled a judge's words in the Pennhurst case: "People were placed in institutions for treatment and education. Absent that, it's incarceration."
Bill Bronston and Friends: Ronnie Cohn's Story
In 2005, Ronnie Cohn posed the question: When workers involved at the beginning of an institution's closure are gone, who will become the advocates who continue the ongoing work?
Bill Bronston and Friends: Diana McCourt's Story
In 2005 Diana McCourt, mother of a child at Willowbrook, described how scared she was to learn what was going on in the institution.
Bill Bronston and Friends: Doug Dornan's Story
In 2005, Doug Dornan described how politics, Medicaid fraud, unions, and administrative corruption were all part of the early days of closing Willowbrook.
Bill Bronston and Friends: Willowbrook's Impact on Workers and Culture
In 2005, Dr. Bill Bronston described how Willowbrook staff worked in a closed environment. If they spoke out about the disease, malnutrition, and abuse, they were fired.
Bill Bronston and Friends: The Role of Workers in the Struggle
In 2005, Dr. Bill Bronston described how Willowbrook administrators ordered all staff to speak out against closing the institution, or be fired. This assured that staff and parents would not share a position.
Bill Bronston and Friends: Mark Marcario's Story
In 2005 Mark Marcario, father of a child with Down syndrome, described the suspicions he had during his initial contact with the Willowbrook institution.
Bill Bronston and Friends:Perspectives to Challenge Power
In 2005, Dr. Bill Bronston described how outside experts gave credibility to the argument to close Willowbrook.
In 1984, Dr. Burton Blatt described the deplorable conditions in institutions, neglect of people with disabilities, and the overwhelming call to professionals for respectful treatment and services.