Olmstead Anniversary

The 1999 US Supreme Court Decision  Olmstead was monumental.

As is written in Disability Rights Galaxy, there have been many things written about this historic decision.

The Decision is very good.  Unfortunately, many have used the Olmstead decision as a basis to consolidate and close institutions.  Olmstead is not about closing institutions – it is about choice, least restrictive environment and expanding community resources.  The expansion of community resources did not mean close institutions and force people to unwillingly leave their homes.  Olmstead clearly states that for some, the institution is the least restrictive environment.


I have posted a comment to the Disability Rights Galaxy – I do not think that it will be approved since it points out an issue which Mark Stroh, Executive Director of Disability Rights Washington, does not want to concede.   So I am posting my comment here.  If Mr. Stroh is able to find where I am wrong, I would gladly know where it is.  I have read and re-read both the decision and the opinions many times and I have not come across anything that mandates closure and consolidation of institutions and moving people against their wishes.


Yes, this was a monumental decision.  I’m very sorry to see though that many have misinterpreted the decision to say that people need to be “deinstitutionalized”


The decision honors the individual choice and honors the choice for that person to live in the least restrictive environment for that person.  It also says that for some, the institution may be the least restrictive environment.


There is no where in this decision that says all people must move out of the institutions and into the “community” nor is there anything that says states need to consolidate and close institutions.


If you find something in the decision which contradicts what I am writing, please point out the quotes to me.  I have read the decision and opinions several times and have not come across any recommendations to close institutions and move people against their will.

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