(Albany, NY) –New York State Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz, Chair of the Assembly Mental Health Committee will be holding Public Hearings across New York State in an effort to investigate the reports of abuse and maltreatment of those with disabilities who reside in State-run facilities. These hearings will take place in Buffalo, Albany, Long Island and New York City.
“The developmentally and physically disabled community of New York State is our most vulnerable community. We, as legislators and simply as decent human beings, need to protect them from any type of cruelty or abuse. We cannot allow these individuals to be subjected to negligence, disrespect, or physical and mental attacks,” stated Assemblyman Ortiz.
The abuse was first reported in March of 2011 in a New York Times article. This article detailed the numerous violations and offenses committed by those employed at New York State Facilities for the developmentally and physically disabled. What was most appalling was the lack of retribution, punishment, or even dismissal of the employee at fault. More often than not, employees are given a simple slap on the wrist and transferred to another facility.
“As I have stated in a previous press release when the article was first published: We need to take a serious look at the way things have been run and make some meaningful changes. Together with Senator McDonald, I will be introducing a package of bills designed to protect those who have no voice to advocate for themselves. We also will be holding public hearings to investigate these reports,” said Ortiz.
The Assemblyman encourages public participation in these hearings. “If you would like to testify at a hearing, please contact my Albany office at (518) 455-3821. If you know of someone who has been affected, please testify. We need to give a voice to the members of our community who are unable to advocate for themselves,” stated Ortiz.