Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The ACLU of Illinois believes the Bill of Rights is for everyone – and that everyone, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, has the right to privacy and bodily integrity.

Many of our cases involve state funding priorities which favor warehousing people with disabilities in huge institutions, rife with abuse and neglect. Our litigation challenges a dysfunctional system that frustrates the human development of people who would benefit clinically, emotionally and physically from living in more integrated settings. Our cases strive to give people the choice to move out of large institutions into more integrated community placements and to improve the care and protect the liberty of persons with disabilities. By continuing to fund large institutions at the expense of community settings, Illinois remains out of compliance with federal law, in some instances resulting in the annual forfeiture of millions in federal reimbursements provided to states that prioritize community-based care. Moreover, integrated settings, where residents can help care for themselves, often are cheaper to operate than are large institutions. If we succeed in forcing the State to establish and fund integrated options for people with disabilities, Illinois will end these violations of with the Americans with Disabilities Act, which forbids needless segregation of people with disabilities.

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