Difference between revisions of "Southbury Training School"

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Revision as of 07:35, 11 November 2009

Southbury Training School
Construction Began 1935
Current Status Active
Building Style Cottage Plan
Peak Patient Population 1,111

From OLR Research Report:

Southbury Training School (STS) was established in the l930s as a home for persons with mental retardation. This state funded and operated facility has 125 buildings on a 1600-acre site. It independently operates its own power, heat, sewage treatment, water, laundry, fire, ambulance, public safety, building maintenance, transportation, and dietary services.

Southbury residents participate in various day programs on and off campus. These include individual and group-supported employment at local businesses, employment at STS-operated ventures, job skills training, sheltered employment, and community experience and leisure programs.

According to the Department of Mental Retardation (DMR), 1700 employees (full time, part time, and consulting staff) provide medical, vocational, residential, and facility support services.

Admissions to STS closed in 1986 when 1,111 individuals lived there. Public Act 95-236 directed the DMR commissioner to (1) continue operating Southbury and 2) establish criteria to evaluate the school's population concerning community and training school placements. According to DMR, the goal of STS has been "to provided community placement opportunities for those residents that wish to move and to ensure the best quality of services for residents who choose to remain at the facility."

PA 97-8, June 18 Special Session, (CGS Sec. 17a-218a) prohibits the DMR commissioner from accepting any new admissions at STS.

A new director of STS, Fritz Gorst, was appointed in l999. He replaced co-directors Charles Hamad and George Moore. Previously, Gorst was an assistant facility director for both the Dever and Wrentham Development Centers, Massachusetts. Both facilities are state-operated institutions for individuals with mental retardation.

Many of the decisions and actions undertaken by DMR concerning Southbury over the past 15 years have been the result of litigation.

Time line from Wikipedia:

In 1984, the first major lawsuit regarding the conditions at STS was filed by the United States of America against the State of Connecticut. A consent decree settled the suit in 1986, requiring that the State increase the conditions of both the care and the facilities.

In 1986, admissions to STS were closed. There was a current population of 1,111. The Department of Mental Retardation was directed to attempt to place residents in group homes and other such settings.

In 1996, the United States District Court for the District of New Haven held the State in contempt of the consent decree.

In 1997, STS was prohibited from accepting any new residents. STS had 782 residents remaining. An order was issued and a special master appointed to oversee the School. Controversy arose in 2005 when it was discovered that in 1997, the Special Master, David Ferleger, had his Pennsylvania license to practice law suspended, and was then later censored by the Bar Commission of that state for practicing law without a license during the suspension. Pursuant to this, Governor Rell requested his removal, also using the opportunity to request the removal of special masters as a whole.

In 2000, STS maintained a staff of 1,700 people. STS had 696 residents remaining.

In 2001, STS had 639 residents remaining. The average age was 55, and the average resident had been at STS for 43 years. The State intends to continue decreasing the number of residents through placement in other settings and through the death of residents.

In 2006, STS was released from judicial oversight.