Last week, U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell Jr. ordered the state of Rhode Island to take a series of actions to meet the 2014 consent decree to move people with intellectual and developmental disabilities out of sheltered workshops and other restrictive environments, or potentially face fines that could total as much as $1 million a year.
Among over 20 actions required, Judge McConnell ordered the state to:
- Hire a program developer and employment specialist” by July 29 and, by Aug. 1, “appropriately increase salaries, benefits, training and supervision for district support professionals and job coaches,” As well as,
- Appropriate the additional money contained in the fiscal year 2017 in order to fund compliance with the Consent decree.
If the provisions of Wednesday's order are not met on schedule, McConnell wrote that he will hold a contempt hearing which could result in fines up to $1M per year.
The 2014 consent decree followed a year-long investigation by the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division that found that Rhode Island grossly violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Department of Justice cited “the state’s failure to develop a sufficient quantity of integrated transition, employment, vocational and day services and supports for individuals with I/DD.”
Source: Providence Journal