University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name DOJ CRIPA Investigation of the Whitten Center in Clinton (SC) ID-SC-0001
Docket / Court N/A ( No Court )
State/Territory South Carolina
Case Type(s) Intellectual Disability (Facility)
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
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 ... read more >
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


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Disability
Integrated setting
General
Assault/abuse by staff
Communication skills
Confinement/isolation
Education
Habilitation (training/treatment)
Individualized planning
Juveniles
Neglect by staff
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, unspecified
Medication, administration of
Mental Disability
Developmental disability without intellectual disability
Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Causes of Action Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
Defendant(s) Whitten Center
Plaintiff Description United States Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Unknown
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Recommendation to Investigate 12/21/1994
ID-SC-0001-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Findings Letter: Investigation of Whitten Center 12/21/1994
ID-SC-0001-0002 PDF | Detail
Judges None on record
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Patrick, Deval L. (District of Columbia)
ID-SC-0001-0001 | ID-SC-0001-0002
Peabody, Arthur E. Jr. (District of Columbia)
ID-SC-0001-0001
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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