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Department Of Justice Investigation Says South Carolina Segregates Mentally Ill Patients

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department has recently completed an investigation regarding the treatment of adults with mental illness in South Carolina. The investigation reportedly focused on whether these individuals are being subjected to unnecessary institutionalization or are at risk of being placed in adult care homes, which would be a violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

The investigation reportedly included a thorough examination and assessment of various documents. Additionally, interviews were conducted with staff members, individuals residing in adult care homes, South Carolina state employees, and stakeholders. Furthermore, visits were made to adult care homes throughout the state.

According to the Justice Department, there is reasonable cause to believe that South Carolina may be in violation of the ADA. This is due to their alleged failure to adequately provide community-based services for adults with mental illness, potentially leading to unnecessary institutionalization. 


In contrast, the state provides financial support for individuals residing in adult care homes, where they may have limited interaction with individuals without disabilities. Typically, residents primarily leave these homes for medical appointments and occasional group outings to grocery and convenience stores. The Department of Justice claims access to essential services for adults with mental illness to live independently in their own homes and communities is currently limited throughout the state.

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Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division stated that individuals with disabilities should have the opportunity to reside in their own homes instead of being confined to institutions for extended periods of time. She says the Civil Rights Division aims to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities, ensuring their ability to fully participate in community life.

According to U.S. Attorney Adair F. Boroughs for the District of South Carolina, the ADA emphasizes the importance of providing individuals with the opportunity to choose their preferred living arrangements, such as residing in their own private home. She said she hopes that the violations pointed out by the Department of Justice can be resolved, allowing the South Carolinians in question to transition from institutional living to living in their communities and making positive contributions. 

According to the Department's investigation, it was determined that South Carolina has a deficiency in community-based mental health services, specifically in areas such as assertive community treatment, supported employment, permanent supportive housing, intensive case management, and peer support. 

The Department of Justice claims these services are available in specific areas of the state, but their availability is not adequate enough to provide opportunities for individuals to avoid or transition out of adult care homes and reside in the community. Consequently, the Department of Justice claims a significant number of adults with mental illness are placed in adult care homes for extended periods of time.

Those who have information related to this matter have the option to contact the Department of Justice by sending an email to

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