The Public Employees Federation, Elected Officials, First Responders and Community Gather to Address Rapid Closures of Mental Health Facilities

Rochester, NY: On Friday, March 8, 2013 there will be a press conference to alert the community to the dangers of the Governor’s recently announced plans to close psychiatric centers, juvenile justice facilities, as well as secure centers which house developmentally disabled individuals who have significant psychiatric and criminal histories.

 “These people need specialized supports for their behavioral issues,” said Randi DiAntonio, council leader of PEF Division 259 at Monroe. “Our members, who are doctors, nurses, psychologists, therapists, social workers and other professionals, are increasingly concerned about the safety and wellbeing of these individuals, their families and the communities where they are being sent….Meanwhile, other people with disabilities who have been living in the group homes for up to 20 years are now being uprooted to make way for those coming from the developmental center.”

NYS has announced that on December 31st of this year, the Monroe Developmental Center in the Town of Brighton will close its doors. This means the approximately 90 individuals in residence will move into the community at large, despite assessments by courts and/or the state that they have been determined as being a danger to themselves and/or others and require the highest levels of security, care and treatment. Many of these individuals have committed crimes, including sexual offenses and have longstanding behavioral and psychiatric histories.

“Releasing residents with intensive needs from institutions into the community has been tried in the past. Some have succeeded in reintegrating safely, but experience has demonstrated that others have endangered both the community and themselves,” DiAntonio said. “The Governor’s plan to transfer most of these individuals to community group homes, operated by private agencies, is irresponsible and unwise, given these agencies have little experience, resources and training on dealing with high risk individuals that pose a threat to self and others.”

In the wake of recent tragedies, locally and across the country, we have a message for the Governor and the community at large. This process needs to be slowed down. It is not a working plan. It is a dangerous one that requires further exploration into alternative solutions.

Please join us on Friday, March 8th at the Rochester Police Locust Club

1425 Lexington Ave.

Rochester, NY 14606 at 4:00 p.m.

Contact : Denise Young, 585-232-6980 x106, Randi DiAntonio at 585-615-2465 or Erin Moody at (585) 752-3303

One thought on “The Public Employees Federation, Elected Officials, First Responders and Community Gather to Address Rapid Closures of Mental Health Facilities

  1. Seriously? You oppose the civil rights of people with disabilities to live in the most integrated setting!? While I support unions and good wages for workers, I am appalled that the “professionals” from the Public Employees Federation, in an effort to preserve their union jobs, would resort to perpetuating erroneous stereotypes that people with developmental and psychiatric disabilities need to be locked up because they are dangerous. These clinicians know that there is no connection between developmental disabilities and violence and that people with psychiatric disabilities are far more likely to be the victims of violent crime than the perpetrators. Even worse, they have taken advantage of and given credence to erroneous media reports speculating that the Newtown shooter’s autism contributed to the incident and unfounded statements made by the police chief in West Webster linking that shooting incident to the deinstitutionalization of people with psychiatric disabilities. This is about medical professionals making ridiculous statements to preserve their jobs while undercutting efforts to secure the full civil rights of people with disabilities.

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