Government & Law

In 1972, after a visit to Western State School and Hospital, Robert Nelkin said, "Recently much legal action has been initiated on behalf of inmates.  It has been successful.  Now five states have filed right to treatment suits for the institutionalized retarded.  They are successful.  It seems like our only hopeful action" (Report on Visit to Western State School and Hospital, 3).  Relatively early in the disability advocacy movement, families and advocates realized that without legislation and legal action at the state and even national level, the lives of Pennsylvania's disabled citizens would not be improved in any meaningful way.  These exhibits chronicle some of the most significant government interventions, legal battles and pieces of legislation introduced on behalf of institutionalized individuals. 

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Content Curator: Elizabeth Beckman, Archivists: T. Eloise Stevens, Elizabeth Beckman