Our agency works to protect and advance the civil rights of people with disabilities, helps people with disabilities when their rights have been violated and seeks to ensure that people with disabilities have access to information about their rights.
Every individual is guaranteed certain rights under the United States Constitution, the Utah Constitution and other laws. Some of these rights include:
- The right to reasonably safe conditions of confinement, including access to adequate medical care and rehabilitation services
- The right to refuse medication and unwanted medical treatment
- The right to live in the most integrated setting
Some examples of our work in the area of protection and civil rights include:
- Investigating allegations of abuse, neglect or exploitation of people with disabilities
- Ensuring that restraint and seclusion are only used in compliance with laws, regulations and best practices
- Ensuring that the rights of individuals with disabilities who come into contact with law enforcement are protected
- Ensuring that individuals with disabilities who are confined in jails and prisons are treated humanely and that their constitutional rights are respected
Updates and additional information:
On Tuesday, September 8, 2015, the Disability Law Center (DLC) and a group of individual plaintiffs, represented by DLC attorneys and the law firm of Snell & Wilmer LLP, filed a class action lawsuit against Utah’s Department of Human Services (DHS), Division of Substance Abuse & Mental Health (DSAMH), and the Utah State Hospital (USH), charging that these state entities are systematically forcing vulnerable criminal defendants to languish in jail while waiting months to be transferred to USH for treatment. The suit alleges that the state hospital system’s inability to provide incompetent criminal defendants with court-ordered restoration treatment within a reasonable time frame violates their due process rights.
- Press Release: Disability Law Center sues state hospital system for failing criminal defendants with mental illness
- Complaint: Read the full Competency Restoration complaint here
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is the first international treaty to address the civil and human rights of persons with disabilities around the world. So far, 147 countries and the European Union have ratified it. Ratification of the Convention will have a significant impact on the ability of the United States to promote the human and civil rights of individuals with disabilities around the world. It will also enable us to more strongly advocate for Americans who work, live, study, or travel abroad. Additionally, it will further strengthen our nation’s legacy as a global leader in recognizing and protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities. This landmark measure was signed by the United States in July 2009 and is now before the full Senate a second time for ratification.