JACKSON, miss. (WLBT) – The state agency committed to helping people with disabilities has filed a lawsuit against the Mississippi Department of Mental Health for denying access to abuse and neglect records.
Disability Rights Mississippi (DRMS) says it has federal powers to investigate incidents of abuse and neglect of people with disabilities and to access the records needed for an investigation.
DRMS says there is likely reason to investigate possible abuse and neglect in Mississippi Department of Mental Health facilities after collecting evidence and asking advice from employees with DRMS customers during regular visits.
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 for DMH that is in violation of federal and state law, but it also indicates an alarming lack of transparency for the state agency charged with caring for those at risk in Mississippi,” said Polly Tribble. Executive Director of DRMS. “Based on information revealed during the Department of Justice’s lawsuit against DMH, DRMS has growing concerns about the recording and data collection practices of DMH regarding incidents of potential abuse and / or neglect in its facilities. This is unacceptable as transparency is essential to accountability, and most importantly, to protecting the safety and well-being of people in Mississippi with intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental illnesses. “
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