The Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act: Has It Fulfilled Its Promise?
August 8, 2005
SCOPE AND PURPOSE:
This report examines the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) enforcement of the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), which was enacted by Congress in 1980 to protect the rights of people in state-run nursing homes, mental health facilities, institutions for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and correctional facilities for children and adults. NCD’s findings reveal that the DOJ has enforced the statute unevenly—performing well in some areas but poorly in others.
This report provides recommendations for ways the DOJ could better protect the rights of people in institutions, including adopting strategic and multifaceted enforcement, broadening the breadth of investigations, resolving cases through enforceable consent decrees, increasing technical assistance to states to help them comply with federal laws, increasing federal agency coordination to support human and civil rights, making better use of the press, and including more and consistent data in its annual reports to Congress.