Disability Rights Montana

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.

Montana Legislature

A Democratic lawmaker wants to put limits on the use of solitary confinement in Montana prisons, but the warden of the men’s prison says it’s the only tool he has for dealing with some prisoners.

Representative Jenny Eck of Helena wants to place limits on how long, and for what reasons, a prisoner can be isolated from other inmates. 

Montana Legislature

In the Montana legislature Tuesday morning, two bills were heard, offering two very different answers to the same question: Does a terminally ill person have a right to die on their own terms, instead of waiting for their illness to run its course, often with much pain, and little dignity?

State of Montana

The Montana State Hospital, the state’s only public psychiatric facility, is coming under fire for the way it handles complaints of abuse or neglect. The best known case occurred five years ago, when the state paid $375,000 to settle a complaint by the family of a female patient raped by a convicted sex offender. Democratic lawmaker Jenny Eck of Helena wants the state Department of Justice to handle complaints about the mistreatment of patients

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.