DRNY PROUDLY ANNOUNCES OUR NEW LEGAL DIRECTOR & GENERAL COUNSEL


DRNY is proud to announce that Jennifer J. Monthie, Esq. has been appointed as Legal Director.  Ms. Monthie has spent the last 14 years representing individuals with disabilities, joining Disability Advocates, Inc., (DAI) in 2003 as a staff attorney, before advancing to senior staff attorney and then as DRNY’s Director of the Protection and Advocacy (P&A) for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (PADD), P&A for Assistive Technology (PAAT), and P&A for Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury (PATBI) programs.  Her efforts have strengthened the rights of people with disabilities to make their own life choices, learn and live in their community and be free from abuse and exploitation.  Ms. Monthie brings her tremendous energy and unwavering commitment to DRNY’s mission of advocating for the civil and legal rights of New Yorkers with disabilities. “It has been an incredible honor to be a part of this important civil rights organization for the last 14 years.  I am privileged to be given an opportunity to serve as DRNY’s Legal Director.” 

 
After twenty-seven years of dedicated service, Cliff Zucker, Esq., will step down as Legal Director and continue his service to DRNY as General Counsel.  From 1989 until June 2013 he was the founding Executive Director of DAI before DRNY transitioned to the Statewide Protection and Advocacy System for New York State.  Mr. Zucker has served as Legal Director and General Counsel of DRNY since 2013.    Mr. Zucker has a long and distinguished litigation career with several landmark disability rights cases.   He was a lead counsel in two lawsuits against New York State to enforce the integration mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act on behalf of thousands of persons with mental illness in nursing homes and adult homes which resulted in settlements that will give thousands of people the opportunity to live and receive services in supported housing and other integrated setting in the community.  He also represented DAI in litigation against the State of New York which resulted in greatly expanded mental health treatment for state prisoners with serious mental illness and created humane and secure treatment settings for many prisoners with serious mental illness who had suffered in Special Housing Units (solitary confinement).  “I’m looking forward to continuing to work with DRNY to advance the rights of people with disabilities.”

​Read PDF Release: http://bit.ly/2jAktNw


​NEW YORKERS WITH DISABILITIES SEEK IMPLEMENTATION OF TEXT-TO-911 SERVICE FOR ALL


Brooklyn, NY, January 5, 2017  –  Nick Dupree, a Queens County resident who cannot speak because he has a tracheotomy and uses a ventilator, and Deborah LoGerfo, a Suffolk County resident who has a hearing impairment, filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York against the City of New York, Nassau County and Suffolk County, seeking an order to compel these municipalities to provide text-to-911 services, which have been available since 2014.  Their failure to act is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504).  The case has been assigned to Judge Joan M. Azrack and Magistrate Judge Anne Y. Shields.


​Text-To-911 Complaint: http://bit.ly/2iZ9eeF
Press Release: http://bit.ly/2iZc2Zg 
911.gov: www.911.gov/textto911.html



BELLEVUE HOSPITAL’S USE OF RESTRAINTS IS ALARMING!
DRNY & MHLS CALL FOR ACTION NOW


Albany, NY, November 1, 2016 - In a joint investigation by the Mental Hygiene Legal Service for the First Judicial Department (MHLS) and DRNY, evidence was uncovered demonstrating an unusually high usage of mechanical restraints on patients at Bellevue Hospital Center as compared to other public hospitals in New York City. The report, titled, “Investigation Report: Use of Restraints on Psychiatric Patients at Bellevue Hospital Center,” was published on November 1, 2016. Bellevue’s high incidence of mechanical restraint usage on psychiatric patients is a significant area of concern. As Bellevue’s own policy states, restraint use “has the potential to produce serious consequences, such as physical and psychological harm, loss of dignity, violation of an individual’s rights, feelings of isolation and even death.”

Read Full Report Here

Read Press Release



DRNY SEEKS FEDERAL INJUNCTION DECLARING ARTICLE 17A GUARDIANSHIP UNCONSTITUTIONAL


Albany, NY September 26, 2016 – DRNY filed suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, against New York State; the Unified Court System of The State of New York, Honorable Janet Difiore, as Chief Judge of the New York State Unified Court System; and Honorable Lawrence K. Marks, as Chief Administrative Justice of the New York State Unified Court System, seeking to enjoin the state from appointing guardianships pursuant to Article 17A of the Surrogate Court Procedure Act (Article 17A), because the statute violates the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504).

Read Full Complaint Here

​Read Press Release




EMPLOYEES WHO USE WHEELCHAIRS ARE OUT OF FASHION IN NEW YORK!

NEW STUDY FINDS “NO FOOT IN THE DOOR” FOR QUALIFIED JOB SEEKERS AT 41% OF NEW YORK CITY FASHION RETAILERS.


Watch Video:

Unfashionable Hiring Practices


Albany, NY, September 19, 2016 – Workers with disabilities have unemployment rates double the rate of those in the general workforce and earn as little as half of what people without disabilities earn.  Disability Rights New York’s (DRNY), investigation and study, conducted by labor economist Marc Bendick, Jr., Ph.D., demonstrates that these outcomes often arise not because these workers can’t do the job, but instead because employers don’t give them a chance.  The first of its kind study in retail fashion employment found an alarming 41% of retailers discriminated against people with disabilities. Read the DRNY Press Release for more.

Watch Video: https://youtu.be/jQ4U5Y3OYSc

​​Read Full Report Here



DRNY COMMENTS ON NYSED RULE: SUPERINTENDENT’S DETERMINATION OR LOCAL DIPLOMA 


Albany, NY, August 2, 2016 - In June, the New York State Department of Education (NYSED) enacted emergency regulations creating a new pathway only for students with disabilities to earn a local high school diploma through a “Superintendent’s Determination.” Before becoming a permanent regulation in September, NYSED must consider PUBLIC COMMENTS SUBMITTED BY AUGUST 22. The potential permanent regulation has very significant implications for students with disabilities, but the public notice of this change has been minimal. There is an overview of the proposal and listed the benefits and concerns, as well as potential modifications to address specific concerns provided by stakeholders. NYSED must consider all comments submitted by the public before making the regulation permanent. Therefore, your voice really matters.
DRNY strongly encourages stakeholders to submit a public comment by email or letter.

Read DRNY Comments Here




RENSSELAER COUNTY POLLING SITES ARE NOT ACCESSIBLE AND IN VIOLATION OF FEDERAL LAW


Albany, NY, August 1, 2016 – Disability Rights New York (DRNY), filed complaints with both the U.S. Department of Justice and the NYS Attorney General’s Office regarding inaccessible polling locations in Rensselaer County that prevent people with disabilities from voting.  DRNY found that 29 of the polling sites surveyed were not accessible and in many cases Ballot Marking Devices (BMD) used by people with disabilities were not ready to use or were malfunctioning.
“It is inexcusable that Rensselaer County is still using inaccessible polling locations and voting systems that don’t work,” said Timothy A. Clune, DRNY Executive Director.  “If you can’t get in, you can’t vote.  Rensselaer County was advised of these problems a while ago and has not taken any action to fix them.”

Watch DRNY Video: #FIXITNOW

DOJ Complaint

NYS AG Complaint



DRNY FINDS PROBLEMS WITH SOLITARY CONFINEMENT REFORMS FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES


Albany, NY, July 28, 2016  –  Disability Rights New York (DRNY) finds that the NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) and Office of Mental Health (OMH) failed to adequately serve incarcerated people with disabilities.  DRNY issued a report following its 2014-2015 monitoring and investigation of the Correctional Alternatives Rehabilitation Unit (CAR) at Sullivan Correctional Facility, which DOCCS opened in May 2014.  The report includes findings of abuse and neglect and makes recommendations to DOCCS.

Read Full Report Here

Press Release




THE JUSTICE CENTER IS FAILING TO PROTECT PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES - DISABILITY RIGHTS NEW YORK CALLS

FOR REFORMS


Albany, NY, July 18, 2016 - In 2013, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo created the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs (Justice Center), with the promise that this agency would effectively investigate and prosecute abuse and neglect of people with disabilities. Over three years later, New York has failed to deliver on that promise.

Press Release



MAKING HARD TIME HARDER:
REPORT OUTLINES NEED FOR ACCOMMODATIONS FOR INMATES WITH DISABILITIES


Albany, NY, July 1, 2016 - More than 600,000 inmates with disabilities in prisons across the country spend more time in prison, under harsher conditions, than inmates without disabilities, according to research. Today, Amplifying Voices of Inmates with Disabilities (AVID), a nationwide project of disability protection & advocacy organizations, released Making Hard Time Harder: Programmatic Accommodations for Inmates with Disabilities Under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The report outlines lack of accommodations for inmates with disabilities.

Press Release

AVID Project Website



DISABILITY RIGHTS NEW YORK SEEKS PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION IN FEDERAL LAWSUIT AGAINST SERVICE PROVIDER FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH REQUESTS BY DRNY TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE AND NEGLECT


Albany, NY February 19, 2016 – DRNY filed suit against Northern Rivers Family Services, Inc., John Henley, Chief Executive Officer of Northern Rivers Family Services, and Northeast Parent and Child Society, Inc.,  for illegally denying DRNY access to a residential treatment center and the records of DRNY clients who were residents of this facility.  The lawsuit was filed in the United States District for the Northern District of New York.

Read Complaint Here

Press Release





DRNY PRESS RELEASES

DRNY's advocacy efforts are highlighted throughout New York State in the media. DRNY works to educate the public on discriminatory practices and other rights violations of New Yorker's with disabilities. DRNY also educates policy makers on the impact of public policy on individuals with disabilities.

DRNY in the News

Report: Bellevue Restrains Mentally Ill Patients Excessively & Erratically​

​By Ben Hattem, Gothamist.com | Nov. 28, 2016


Lawyers from a watchdog agency and the state Mental Hygiene Legal Service say they've found that patients on the psychiatric units at Bellevue hospital in Manhattan are physically restrained and forcibly injected with sedatives at dramatically higher rates than patients at other public hospitals in the city. They also found that the hospital allegedly under-reports these incidents, in apparent violation of state policy directives and federal law.

Read Full Story Here



THE JUSTICE CENTER IS FAILING TO PROTECT PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES - 
DISABILITY RIGHTS NEW YORK CALLS FOR REFORMS​


The Justice Center has failed at its core mission, which is to protect individuals with disabilities.  It is now apparent that structural reforms are needed to remedy the problems and ensure that the Justice Center provides the essential protections it was intended to give to those who need it most.  Read the DRNY Press Release for more: Justice Center



​DRNY Wins Northeast Parent and Child Society Case


DRNY won its case against Northeast Parent and Child Society! The decision reaffirmed DRNY’s right to access to the facility and the residents to monitor and investigate allegations of abuse and neglect. Please read two recent articles from the Washington TImes and Albany Times Union regarding the decision from the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York.


Washington Times: NY group home operator sued in probes of alleged abuse

Times Union: Disability group wins fight to enter Schenectady facility



A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES AGREEMENT TO DISMANTLE SCHOOL TO PRISON PIPELINE IN ALBANY SCHOOLS

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced an agreement today with the City School District of Albany to ensure that the District’s discipline policies and practices do not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin or disability status.  With this Agreement, both the Attorney General and the City School District of Albany reaffirm their commitment to fostering safe and effective school climates.​


Read more, Agreement to DisMantle School to Prison Pipeline in Albany Schools.


DRNY Finds Fault with State's Death Investigation


Associated Press Reports on DRNY's Investigation of the Death Investigation. Read more, Handling of Disabled Teen's Death in NY State Care Blasted


DRNY Investigative Report: The Death of M.H.


DRNY's conducted an investigation of the death of an individual with intellectual and developmental disability.DRNY released a report of its investigation of the death of M.H., who lived in Saint Dominic’s Home, Dominican Hall (“SDH”), a New York Intermediate Care Facility for people with developmental disabilities. DRNY’s investigation concluded that M.H. was seriously neglected in the months preceding his death, causing him great suffering and likely contributing to his death.  New York State’s investigation of the matter by its Justice Center for Protection of People with Special Needs (Justice Center) was seriously deficient.  Despite overwhelming evidence of neglect, the Justice Center inexplicably failed to find that M.H. was neglected and completely failed to remedy the systemic problems that caused the neglect. Read, Press Release Investigative Report


DRNY Testifies before a Senate Hearing in Buffalo Regarding Sheltered Workshops


NY Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a plan to phase out sheltered workshops to comply with a Supreme Court ruling that ensures everyone the right to work in an integrated setting. Jennifer Monthie, Esq. of DRNY, appeared at a public hearing at the University of Buffalo's Center for Tomorrow as a speaker and supporter of competitive employment for individuals with disabilities. Read more, Hearing on Sheltered Workshops.  To read DRNY's Jennifer Monthie's, Esq., entire public testimony at the Hearing on Sheltered Workshops, read more at, Public Testimony 


Federal Department of Justice Interested in North Colonie School Case


Department of Justice files a Statement of Interest supporting DRNY's authority in the North Colonie School Case.  Read more, North Colonie School Case


Department of Justice files Statement of Interest in DRNY v. North Colonie Board of Education, et al.


A Statement of Interest was filed in DRNY v. North Colonie that argues that the PAIMI Act should be enforced to protect students with mental illness from abuse or neglect in public schools.  

Read more, Statement of Interest Article


New York State Ending Admissions to Sheltered Workshops


New York State ended new admissions to sheltered workshops as of July 1, 2013, and will stop funding for them in 2020 -- the result of the state's April 2013 agreement with the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Read more, Sheltered Workshops Article


DRNY Finds Fault with Program at Ferncliff Manor, School for Adaptive and Integrated Learning. 


DRNY conducted an investigation of at Ferncliff Manor, School for Adaptive and Integrated Learning and issued a preliminary report. Read more, Ferncliff Article



DRNY Appears on "Capitol Pressroom"


DRNY participated in the broadcast.  For full details of the "Capitol Pressroom" broadcast, please clink on:  Capitol Pressroom


Capitol Pressroom host Susan Arbetter led a one-hour show on Sunmount, a facility which cares for individuals with intellectual disabilities in Tupper Lake, New York to shed more light on recent occurrences at Sunmount.  


NYC DOC Allegedly Withholds Records on Violence Against Developmentally Disabled Juvenile Inmate


DRNY filed a lawsuit on March 12th in the Eastern District of New York claims the New York City Department of Corrections (DOC) withheld important records from a federally-mandated disability advocate after they learned guards had brutally attacked a developmentally disabled juvenile inmate at the Robert N. Davoren Complex on Rikers Island. For more information about this article read, DOC Article.



State Reviewing North Colonie School Program


Amid an ongoing federal lawsuit by DRNY over the treatment of students with disabilities, the North Colonie school district is coming under review by the state. For more information about this article read, North Colonie Article



Special Education Task Force Event


The Special Ed Task Force recently offered a forum on a proposal in the Governor’s budget bill that would set up a procedure where schools could seek a wavier of certain State special ed requirements. The Southern Tier Task Force held its forum which was covered by local media. To view this video click on New 12 coverage.



Advocacy Group Fights District


DRNY, an advocacy group charged with safeguarding disabled New Yorkers is locked in legal combat with the North Colonie school district over whether the group should be allowed to investigate allegations that special education students suffered abuse and neglect in their elementary school. For more information about this article read, North Colonie Article.



Disability rights advocates speak to students about institutional abuse and torture in America


Two disability rights attorneys and an institutional abuse survivor participated in a panel discussion entitled “Human Rights Aren’t For Us: Disability & Legalized Abuse,” the third in Lydia Brown‘s (COL ’15) Lecture & Performance Series on Disability Justice that is being held and sponsored by various University and external organizations throughout the academic year. For more information about this article read, Institutional Abuse Article.



Bullying Prevention Conference


Orange was the color to wear at the Bruce M. Wright Memorial Conference Center as dozens gathered at a bullying prevention conference sponsored by the Northern Regional Center for Independent Living and presented by DRNY. For information on this bullying prevention event read, Bullying Prevention Conference.



DRNY warns Mechanicville on access for disabled


DRNY threatened to take legal action against the city if it does not develop a plan within 100 days to fix its sidewalks, create and fix curb cuts and install signs so people with disabilities have equal access to the downtown business district. For more information about this article read, Mechanicville Access.