‘This is unacceptable‘ | Lawsuit filed against mental health agency for denying access to abuse, neglect records

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 11:40 AM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The state agency that advocates for people with disabilities has filed a lawsuit against Mississippi Department of Mental Health for denied access to abuse and neglect records.

Disability Rights Mississippi (DRMS) says it has federal authority to investigate incidents of abuse and neglect of people with disabilities and access records necessary for investigations.

DRMS says it has probable cause to investigate potential abuse and neglect inside Mississippi Department of Mental Health facilities after gathering evidence during regular visits, interviews with DRMS clients tips from employees.

Disability Rights Mississippi said it requested incident reports for ten Mississippi Department of Mental Health facilities but was denied access to the reports.

“Not only is this an issue of DMH violating state and federal law, but it also points to an alarming lack of transparency for the state agency tasked with providing care to vulnerable Mississippians,” said Polly Tribble, Executive Director of DRMS. “Due to information revealed throughout the Department of Justice lawsuit against DMH, DRMS has mounting concerns about DMH’s record-keeping and data collection practices with regard to incidents of potential abuse and/or neglect within its facilities. This is unacceptable, as transparency is essential for accountability and, more importantly, for protecting the safety and well-being of Mississippians with intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental illness.”

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