On January 6, 2014, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice sent a findings letter to the attorney general for the State of Rhode Island. The letter reported that the Division's investigation of Rhode Island's educational, vocational, and shelter services for the intellectually ...
read more >
On January 6, 2014, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice sent a findings letter to the attorney general for the State of Rhode Island. The letter reported that the Division's investigation of Rhode Island's educational, vocational, and shelter services for the intellectually and developmentally disabled (I/DD) found that Rhode Island violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, by "unjustifiably" isolating persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities in sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs.
On April 8, 2014, the Civil Rights Division filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island against the State of Rhode Island under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134. The plaintiff asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief alleging that the defendant discriminated against people with I/DD by failing to provide state services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs and by putting Rhode Island high school students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities at "serious risk of segregation" by failing to inform them of or provide them with state services that would allow them to work in an integrated workplace. The plaintiff further claimed that Rhode Island failed to reasonably modify its delivery of its services to prevent them from causing unnecessary segregation on the basis of disability.
On that same day that the complaint was filed, both parties submitted a proposed consent decree to settle the lawsuit, indicating that the parties had likely been engaged in negotiations since the issuance of the findings letter in January.
On April 9, 2014, the District Court (Senior Judge Ronald R. Lugueux) approved a consent decree between the parties that would last for ten (10) years. The Decree requires the state to develop employment and educational programming and subjects the state to monitoring.Brian Kempfer - 04/13/2014