The Public Employees Federation says the state isn't providing the support the residents at the Monroe Developmental Center will need. They say Governor Cuomo's plan to transfer is irresponsible, unwise, and could have tragic results.
"We want the state to sit down and talk to the stakeholders and really lay out what's a good working plan," explained Randi DiAntonio, Council Leader for the Public Employees Federation, Division 259. DiAntonio says the residents at Monroe Developmental Center are high risk and need specialized care,"the majority were admitted under court ordered commitment, or as a condition of probation or parole, or because their families or other agencies couldn't handle them."
DiAntonio says the state hasn't come up with a placement plan for the residents and she says releasing them without a plan could put the community in danger, "concern is that there is a need for intensive treatment services, locally accessible, for residents that have disabilities who have much more serious behaviors than can be managed in the community."
Chris Hilderbrandt, Chief Operating Officer, for the Center for Disability Rights is challenging that claim. He says the union is stereotyping the residents, "comparisons against really violent criminals, people that have done some of the most horrendous acts over the past decade," said Hilderbrandt, "and the simple fact is that people at MDC, I mean some of them have committed crimes, but nothing that extreme."
Hilderbrandt says there has been more than enough time to come up with a plan to transfer the residents, "any representation of this as a rapid closure is false we heard today [Friday] its been 18 months already, and there's another 8 months, so 2 years is certainly plenty of time to develop the services needed to help these guys get out of this institution."
The state agrees. In a statement a spokesman for the governor's office said, "For decades New York State has been integrating individuals with developmental disabilities into appropriate community based settings both to improve care and treatment as well as comply with federal law. Placement decisions are carefully made on a case by case basis and any individual deemed to be a sex offender or threat to the safety of a community would never be placed in a setting where they could harm themselves or others."