posted on Mar, 30 2010 @ 11:49 AM
Sit Down AND hold your socks on! I now live 2 1/2 miles from Pennhurst. I did 4 yrs in the USCG, graduated college ( majored in psych) and did some
grad school work (psych soc work)!
I also worked at a PA Habilation Center in PITTSBURGH where people were transfered from Polk State School in Franklin, PA. Polk was Pennhursts sister
school but in the western part of PA. Polk was a hellhole too. I found the Habilation Center to be a good place for some of those who were there to
have a decent chance of reentering society with some confidence and dignity. Some where to mentally incompetent and had no chance at survival in the
real world though.
But I digress!
One day as I was working at a job which required dexterity, decision making, forethought and stamina. It was also a stepping stone position which
would eventually lead to a position of much skill and all of the above. This job was non related field of my education, I was talking to a co-worker
who was doing the exact same job as me. We must have been talking about where we grew up or something related to such.
I was astonished when he told me where he grew up. He said that he was placed into Pennhurst as a child by his parents. I think I said something akin
to I couldn't believe it.
Pennhurst and Polk were dumping places for unwanted children. I know that the social infrastructure was lacking or at most infantile during the
I saw people in W. PA who were like him. I couldn't believe that they were also institutionalized. Most did suffer from social depriviation and would
have a difficult time making it outside of there but it's terrible they were there at all.
I know for a fact that those in the habilation center were treated well by most, yet I don't know for sure. How could I?
As you all know Pennhurst closed in 1986. Polk closed at about the same time and so did the habilation center but earlier.
Where did all those poor souls go?