Creative Loafing’s report on Georgia and the Olmstead ruling

ALYSSA ABKOWITZ at Creative Loafing had an interesting article on the Olmstead ruling.
| Article here |

The Olmstead ruling basically states this:

The Supreme Court stated that unnecessary institutional placement perpetuates unfounded assumptions that people with disabilities are incapable or unworthy of participating in society. Secondly, the justices found, institutional confinement severely curtails opportunities for participation in everyday activities, such as family and social activities, work and educational options, economic independence and cultural enrichment.

To remedy this type of discrimination, the court stated that the ADA requires states to serve individuals with disabilities in community settings rather than in segregated institutions, when this is appropriate and reasonable in light of certain factors.

While rendering unnecessary institutionalization presumptively unlawful, the L.C. decision does afford statesóand other potential defendantsóa defense to L.C. claims. A state is not required to transfer an unnecessarily institutionalized person to the community if doing so would fundamentally alter the state’s program. Whether serving particular individuals in a more integrated setting would require a fundamental alteration depends on:

(1) the cost of providing community services to the individuals,

(2) the resources available to the state, and

(3) the state’s need both to maintain a range of facilities and to distribute services in an evenhanded way.

| View information source |

I can remember my days in E.M.S. when I would talk and interact with a number of people who were in this situation. They were institutionalized with some type of mental disorder but, were perfectly capable of living on their own with a little help during the day.

Being in E.M.S., you don’t always get a chance to be with your patient for very long but, I remember stories from some who talked about living in what they described as “the wrong place”. Lacking the credentials of a clinical psychologist, I could not always determine the true nature of their situation. However, many did, indeed, strike me as being perfectly fit to take care of themselves and live on their own.

I bring this to light here because I have no doubt this is an ongoing problem for many people living in Atlanta and Georgia and I would hope the State would take another hard look at the issues. Complex issues, I’m sure but, important issues nonetheless. I would hate to think that I would be living any part of my life in “the wrong place” and not be able to experience all that life has to offer.

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