FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 31, 1994

CR (202) 616-2765 TDD (202) 514-1888

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT OBTAINS AGREEMENT FROM TENNESSEE TO CORRECT FACILITY FOR DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The state of Tennessee has agreed to remedy the substandard life-threatening conditions at the Arlington Developmental Center, under a remedial order filed today in federal court by both the state and the Justice Department. In November 1993, the U.S. District Court in Memphis, ruled that the Arlington Center failed to provide even minimal care to its more than 400 developmentally disabled residents. It stated that substandard care at the facility, located outside Memphis, "resulted in deaths that were entirely preventable." The ruling came after a lengthy trial in which Justice Department experts, former employees of the Center and family members of residents testified about the abuse and neglect suffered by the Center's residents. "We remain committed to ensuring that the rights of citizens with developmental disabilities living in state institutions are protected," said the Justice Department's Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Deval L. Patrick. Under the remedial order, the state commits to making a number of systemic changes to ensure that the residents of the Center are protected from harm and, where appropriate, are placed in more home-like settings in the community. The order also requires the state to: ​ hire investigators and train and deploy staff to ensure that residents are protected from abuse, mistreatment and neglect; ​ institute safeguards to prevent inappropriate use of drugs and physical restraints, as well as unsafe feeding and physical therapy practices; ​ hire a sufficient number of adequately trained nurses, physicians, psychologists, physical therapists and other professional staff to provide adequate care; ​ train staff to feed and care for residents properly, and conduct reviews to determine whether any staff should continue to be employed at the facility; ​ comply with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and applicable Tennessee law regarding the education of school-age children residing at the Center; ​ place appropriate individuals in community-based homes and ensure that their individual needs are met there, giving priority to the placement of children and effectively reducing the population of the facility to 200 persons or fewer by September 30, 1997.

The remedial order also provides for oversight of the facility by a court-appointed monitor and permits the Justice Department to inspect and ensure compliance with the order. The Court has not yet ruled on the Justice Department's request that the state be held in contempt for not complying with the Court's initial order issued in November 1993. # # # 94-499