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Crimes against humanity, as defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Explanatory Memorandum, "are particularly odious offences in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of one or more human beings. They are not isolated or sporadic events, but are part either of a government policy (although the perpetrators need not identify themselves with this policy) or of a wide practice of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government or a de facto authority. Murder; extermination; torture; rape and political, racial, or religious persecution and other inhumane acts reach the threshold of crimes against humanity only if they are part of a widespread or systematic practice. Isolated inhumane acts of this nature may constitute grave infringements of human rights, or depending on the circumstances, war crimes, but may fall short of falling into the category of crimes under discussion."
"The residents lived lives of inner dignity and grace in a world designed to strip that dignity from them."
--former Pennhurst employee.
Halderman vs. Pennhurst State School
Excerpts from the facts section of the federal district court case Halderman v. Pennhurst State School and Hospital (446 F.Supp. 1295) demonstrate the horrific conditions lack of funding created at Pennhurst. It was only through the dedication of the overworked staff, it seems, that any humanity at all was afforded in this institution.
# Pennhurst Center
* Admission and Discharge Log, 1959-1960. (1 volume)[#23.407] [Description]
* Annual Fiscal Report, 1934-1935. (1 volume)[#23.408] [Description]
* Court Documents for Terri Lee Halderman v. Pennhurst State School and Hospital, 1994. (1 folder)[#23.409] [Description]
* Daily Census, 1930-1967. (2 volumes)[#23.410] [Description]
* Numerical Index to Patient Roster, 1908-1977. (1 volume)[#23.411] [Description]
* Patient Register, 1908-1961. (2 volumes)[#23.412] [Description]
* Pennhurst Community Bank Scrip and Scrip Savings Book, 1973. (1 folder)[#23.413] [Description]
* Proceedings of the Thirty-First Annual Meeting of the Association of Trustees and Medical Superintendents of State and Incorporated Hospitals for the Insane and Feeble-Minded, 1918. (1 volume) [#23.414] [Description]
I have been in this room and the group i was with found a "chest" of documents
in the documents there was a three ring binder about 5 inches think.
it was completly filled with files of patients and how they died, why they died, when where and the regular stuff...
the odd part of it was that most patients had died from "restraints" or "patient got out of hand, doctors(or nurses) handled"
the worst part was in the back of the binder there was a tally sheet of the operations for 3 doctors..
under each docotrs naem there was a spot for deaths on the table, death form complications, and survivals..
a good 75% died on the table while a few others died form complications..... very few survived the operations
Many inmates were Sterilized and could not reproduce. There was no age limit to those admitted, although the school was advertised for children. There were 4 Superintendents within a year and a half.
# Seclusion wards were on M-1, U-2, K-1, K-2, V-2 and I-2
# One patient was burned by a hot bath
# One patient was thrown out of a window
# One patient stole of a bottle of Thorozine, drank the entire bottle and died the next day
# One patient was hung on the porch which began the Investigation of Pennhurst
The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, the Vietnam Conflict or the American War , was a Cold War military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from September 26, 1959 to April 30, 1975.
Lost In A Desert World
CREATOR: Roland Johnson (author)
SOURCE: Available at selected libraries
After that long ride up there, it was just horrible. That was very scary. Very, very frightening. I was crying that I would never see them again, my family or sisters. We went out into this great big institution that I didn't know anything about.
I saw Pennhurst for the first time. Where you come down on the main road you see this big thing up at Pennhurst, the water tower, coming in to Pennhurst. Things looked different to me -- because it wasn't like a house that I lived in. I'm out here in this gray institution with three thousand people that live in it. It was just something that I didn't like. They had a playground there as you come to a dead end. And the office.
Six Lighted Windows
One of the first things I recall seeing is the attendant with the wooden leg hobbling down the railroad track toward the station. Old Pegleg had been fired. He was not needed -- now that all these young men had come to be "tendants," as the patients called them, at Pennhurst. Moreover, they said, that leg could bruise and hurt you when he used it as a paddle. The "patients" were the mentally handicapped, 1500 of them, divided by gender into two encampments: women and girls on the hill, men and boys in the valley.
But this was 1944 and we said "mentally deficient" in those days; later it became "retarded," and today one says "challenged." The new young men were the 30 members of Civilian Public Service Unit #129 who had arrived, some with their wives, to serve out their time in service alternative to the armed forces. In fact it was they who were challenged -- their ideal of nonviolence was to be put to the test as they handled the inmates and mixed with the staff.
The Pennhurst Case
Philadelphia Inquirer front page feature on David Ferleger's 23 year involvement in the landmark litigation.
November 4, 1997
PENNHURST: LAWSUIT WITHOUT END
The rights of Pennhurst's alumni have been well guarded for years. But amid bounty, some feel forsaken.
Lawsuit aids some retarded at all costs
By L. Stuart Ditzen
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
IT WAS 1974, and David Ferleger was 26 and just two years out of the University of Pennsylvania law school when he presented himself at the federal courthouse in Philadelphia and filed a class-action lawsuit that would become famous.
Originally posted by greatpiino
Thank you for this thread. It is necessarily depressing. I don't have time right now to click on the links and read more; this building is still standing? Tear it down, build a memorial so that we can remember our mistakes.
Once called the shame of the nation, the Pennhurst State School and Hospital was the epicenter of a civil and human rights movement that changed the way the world saw people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The atrocities of neglect at Pennhurst resulted in Supreme Court litigation that sounded the death knell for institutionalization worldwide. Through preservation and adaptive re-use of the historic Pennhurst campus, the Pennhurst Memorial and Preservation Alliance seeks to ensure that those achievements won at Pennhurst are neither lost nor forgotten. We seek to reclaim this once painful place as a center of conscience, healing, and outreach. This process is essential in the creation and preservation of a society where, all people are valued and respected, and where all people have the knowledge, opportunity, and power to improve their lives and the lives of others.
Recently recognized as an International Site of Conscience, Pennhurst offers the opportunity to again achieve something unique and revolutionary. Re-use of this powerfully emotive site in form and footprint will give a foundation for a better future. A research center, interpretive center, archive, and conference facility will encourage understanding of the past while keeping current issues relevant through ongoing dialogue.