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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Abuse in Iowa

In The Politics of Autism, I write:
Shortly after his inauguration, Kennedy created the President’s Panel on Mental Retardation. In a 1963 message to Congress, he called for a reduction “over a number of years and by hundreds of thousands, (in the number) of persons confined” to institutions for the mentally ill and mentally retarded. He said that these persons should be able to return to the community “and there to restore and revitalize their lives through better health programs and strengthened educational and rehabilitation services.” Though he did not use the term at the time, JFK was calling for deinstitutionalization. Over the next several decades, more and more people with disabilities such as autism would stay with their families or remain in their communities instead of entering institutions. 
But some remain in institutions.

Barbara Rodriguez at The Des Moine Register:
Iowa law enforcement joined a state investigation into alleged wrongdoing at an institution for people with severe intellectual disabilities after state fact-finding efforts turned up "additional allegations,” health officials said Tuesday.
It's the first sign the state's probe into the Glenwood Resource Center involves possible criminal activity. 
"The investigation is ongoing," said Mitch Mortvedt, a spokesman for the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI). "We're evaluating any and all information."
The involvement of state law enforcement comes weeks after the U.S. Department of Justice told Iowa officials it was investigating allegations of federal rights violations at Glenwood. Ahead of a recent visit to the facility, DOJ officials sought documentation on whether any residents were identified for inclusion in studies about sexual arousal or "optimal hydration."
 Staff for DCI, a division within the Iowa Department of Public Safety, visited the facility on Monday, Mortvedt said.
"We're going to continue to, as we gain information, put policies and procedures in place and do the appropriate investigation that we need to," Gov. Kim Reynolds told reporters on Tuesday.
In 2019, Tony Leys reported at the same paper;
A former worker at a state institution for disabled Iowans has been acquitted of a charge that she used a butter knife to strike a young man who has severe autism.
Ayla Yates was one of six former employees at the Glenwood Resource Center who were arrested in February 2017 on charges of mistreating residents. The others pleaded guilty or were convicted at trial over the past eight months, but a Mills County jury this week found Yates not guilty of a charge of wanton neglect of a health care facility resident.
“Ayla maintained her innocence throughout the entire process,” her lawyer, Amanda Heims, said Friday. “Justice was done in this case, and it’s proof that the jury process works.”
Yates, 26, was among 13 employees of the state institution who were fired or quit amid allegations that they physically abused or verbally demeaned the facility's residents, who have profound autism or other intellectual disabilities.