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NCJ Number: 65680 Find in a Library
Title: FROM RIGHTS TO REALITIES - ADVOCACY BY AND FOR RETARDED PEOPLE IN THE 1980'S
Author(s): S S HERR
Corporate Author: US Executive Office of the President
President's Committee on Mental Retardation
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 18
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
US Executive Office of the President
Washington, DC 20201
Publication Number: OHDA 79-21026
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS ARTICLE APPEALS TO THE LEGAL PROFESSION AND ITS INSTITUTIONS TO EMBARK UPON ACTION PROGRAMMING FOR THE PROVISION OF LEGAL SERVICES TO THE MENTALLY RETARDED, AND OUTLINES PRACTICAL STEPS TO THIS END.
Abstract: NATIONAL AND STATE LAWS HAVE AFFIRMED THE RIGHTS OF RETARDED PEOPLE AND OTHER DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED PERSONS. IN PRACTICE, HOWEVER, ESPECIALLY IN THE FIELD OF ADVOCACY RESOURCES, SERVICE DELIVERY HAS NOT KEPT PACE WITH HUMAN RIGHTS EXPECTATIONS AND LEGISLATIVE ADVANCES. LEGAL ASSISTANCE IS NOT REACHING THE RETARDED BECAUSE OF THEIR ISOLATED CONDITION AND PASSIVE NATURE. LEGAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS MUST PUT THE MENTALLY DISABLED IN A PRIORITY SETTING BECAUSE THEY SUFFER GROSS ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEPRIVATIONS. LOCAL LAWYERS SHOULD BECOME INFORMED ON THE LEGAL NEEDS OF LOW-INCOME DISABILITY GROUPS AND THE ISSUES ON WHICH THEY NEED ADVOCACY SUPPORT. AREAS OF NEEDED LEGAL INTERVENTION INCLUDE INVOLUNTARY COMMITMENT AND AUTOMATIC REVIEW THEREOF; ACCESS TO EFFECTIVE COUNSEL AT ALL STAGES OF COMMITMENT; SECURING OF DAMAGES AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF TO HALT ABUSE AND BRUTALITY; AND CREATION OF A NETWORK OF ALTERNATIVES TO INSTITUTIONALIZATION. ADVOCACY RESOURCES SHOULD BE REDIRECTED TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE RETARDED COMMUNITY AT THE FOLLOWING LEVELS OF ORGANIZATION: COMMUNITY LEGAL SERVICE PROGRAMS, STATE ADVOCACY SYSTEMS, CONSUMER ORGANIZATIONS, LEGAL SERVICES CORPORATIONS, AND THE BAR AND LAW SCHOOLS. LOCAL LEGAL SERVICES NEED STAFF MENTAL DISABILITY SPECIALISTS TO PURSUE OUTREACH PROGRAMS AND MONITOR LOCAL ISSUES. STATE ADVOCACY SYSTEMS SHOULD CONTRACT A NETWORK OF SERVICE OFFICES FOR DELIVERY OF LEGAL ASSISTANCE TO THE DISABLED, AND THEY MUST ALSO BE ABLE TO INVESTIGATE AND MONITOR ALLEGED RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND FILE SUIT ON BEHALF OF INCAPABLE OR INTIMIDATED CLIENTS. A SPECIAL ROLE OF LEGAL VOLUNTEERS IS THAT OF STRENGTHENING SELF-HELP AND SELF-GOVERNMENT EFFORTS IN ORGANIZATIONS OF RETARDED PERSONS, ENCOURAGING THEIR CITIZEN PARTICIPATION ON ISSUES THAT AFFECT THEIR INTERESTS. LEGAL AID ALLOTMENTS MUST TAKE THE RETARDED INTO ACCOUNT, AND LEGAL TRAINING PROGRAMS SHOULD INCLUDE CLINICAL LAW. CONGRESS NEEDS TO CREATE A SUBSTANTIAL FORMULA GRANT PROGRAM FOR STATES ORGANIZING COMMUNITY-BASED SERVICES TO REPLACE INSTITUTIONS. FOOTNOTES ARE INCLUDED. (MRK)
Index Term(s): Citizen associations; Defense services; Legal aid services; Legal reference services; Legal training; Persons with cognitive disabilities
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=65680

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