On December 21, 1994, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice [DOJ] sent notice to the State of South Carolina [State] that it was conducting an investigation into the conditions of confinement at the Whitten Center ("Whitten") in Clinton, South Carolina, pursuant to its ...
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On December 21, 1994, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice [DOJ] sent notice to the State of South Carolina [State] that it was conducting an investigation into the conditions of confinement at the Whitten Center ("Whitten") in Clinton, South Carolina, pursuant to its authority under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act ("CRIPA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq. Whitten was a state-operated institution housing approximately 800 developmentally disabled children and adults.
The DOJ advised the State that it would be examining resident safety, the adequacy of medical care, training, staffing, the use of psychotropic medication, and issues involving community placement.
The DOJ's decision to launch a formal investigation followed interviews with employees of the South Carolina Protection & Advocacy System for the Handicapped, Inc., and a parent of a Whitten resident, who reported various instances of daily abuse and neglect at Whitten. The abuse included residents being left unattended, sitting in their own urine and feces for hours. 10 unexplained resident deaths were said to have occurred in just one month.
Additional information regarding abuse came from reports of state surveyors, who annually enforced the Health Care Financing Administration's ("HCFA") Title XIX regulations by inspecting the Whitten facility. One report, for example, noted that on a recent visit surveyors noted full urinals, toilets with unflushed feces, and dirty clothes with bad odors.
A separate State-generated report of incidents of reported abuse, listed 44 separate allegations of abuse at Whitten during the fiscal year 1992-93.
We do not know the results of the DOJ's investigation, nor what transpired after the DOJ's notice letter of December 21, 1994.Dan Dalton - 03/19/2007