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Beleaguered Howe Developmental Center Remains Open Despite Additional Deaths and Ongoing Violations of Human Rights
Date:7/14/2008

Twenty-Three Dead: Does Anyone Care?

CHICAGO, July 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Howe Developmental Center remains open for business, despite the continued horrific conditions that led the Federal Government to decertify it over a year ago. Incredibly, Howe has lived on even though disturbing details cry out for closure: loss of millions of Medicaid dollars; seven investigative accounts by Equip for Equality describing in gruesome detail the deaths of 21 people and multiple instances of abysmal care; and the initiation of a United States Department of Justice investigation into violations of the Constitutional rights of the people living there.

Repeated efforts by Equip for Equality along with other advocacy organizations and people with disabilities, have failed to convince the State to close the institution. Instead, the State has opted to continue wasting hundreds of thousands more taxpayers' dollars on outside consultants hired to "fix" Howe -- consultants who have since left the institution. Other extraordinary measures taken by the State to "fix" Howe, including independent monitors, redeployment of staff from other state run institutions to Howe, and contract nursing staff, have also failed to protect people from dying or to reform the institution.

Recently, two more people have died at Howe. Those deaths remain under investigation by Equip for Equality's Abuse Investigation Unit. A preliminary review of one of those deaths reveals the same serious lapses in care found by the Abuse Investigation Unit in so many of the other medical records related to both people who have died and those who remain at Howe.

Illinois State Police investigations brought to light several instances of criminal conduct by staff and reports from the Office of the Inspector General for the Illinois Department of Human Services reveal ongoing dangerous instances of abuse and neglect including:

-- An abuse investigation revealed that a staff
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SOURCE Equip for Equality, Inc.
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