Monday, June 12, 2006

Behind Locked Doors

The last two days the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has run a terrific series on extensive neglect and abuse against some of our most vulnerable citizens. "Broken Promises, Broken Lives" by Carolyn Tuft and Joe Mahr documents how mentally ill and retarded people have suffered 21 deaths and 665 injuries since 2000 in government supervised centers in Missouri. I like how Tuft and Mahr don't pull any punches with their lead in Sunday's paper: "Mentally retarded and mentally ill people in Missouri have been sexually assaulted, beaten, injured and left to die by abusive and neglectful caregivers in a system that for years has failed at every level to safeguard them." They go on to give example after example of the kind of mistreatment that has led, they say, to 2,287 confirmed abuse and neglect cases. Today's chapter in the series details how prosecutors and police often don't pursue investigations of these crimes. This second chapter is also full of powerful examples.


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