Bernadette Franks-Ongoy

A House panel is considering whether Montana Developmental Center in Boulder should be closed, after multiple reports of clients being physically or sexually assaulted. MDC treats people with developmental disabilities, who are sent there by court order.  

Bernadette Franks-Ongoy, who heads Disability Rights Montana, says ongoing reports of physical and sexual abuse against clients justify closing the center, and transferring its residents to community-based group homes.

A civil rights organization filed a lawsuit Monday against the state over the treatment of mentally ill inmates at the Montana State Prison and at the Montana State Hospital.

Disability Rights Montana sued seven top officials with both the state Departments of Corrections and Health and Human Services, saying mentally ill inmates are “subjected to a cruel system that exacerbates, rather than treats and ameliorates their mental illness.”

  The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana has written a letter to the state alleging widespread mistreatment of mental illness in both the Montana State Prison and state hospital.