Updates from Access Living: July 1, 2021


July 1, 2021 | by Amber Smock

Crisis at Choate; Ending Driver’s License Suspensions; ASAP Act; Advocacy Jobs at Access Living

Once again, we have a few important advocacy updates for you. Read on!

Crisis Escalates at Choate Mental Health & Development Center:

Over the last couple of years, the Choate Mental Health & Developmental Center has been the subject of investigations of allegations of abuse against its residents with disabilities. Choate is located in southern Illinois and currently houses 222 people; it is one of Illinois’ seven state run institutions focused on people with developmental disabilities.

Recently, the crisis at Choate escalated when three administrators were charged with felonies related to violating the state’s investigating protocol, related to the abuse cases.

This is not the first such crisis Choate has faced. In 2018, a police investigation resulted in indictments for two Choate staff members, and a 2014 Equip for Equality report outlined the abuses and deaths experienced at Choate.

The statewide coalition Going Home Illinois, of which Access Living is a member, continues to call for closure of state-run disability residential institutions, and expansion of community services for people with disabilities waiting for supports.

Illinois Ends Drivers’ License Suspensions:

Starting today, July 1, 2021, Illinois will no longer suspend or hold licenses for failing to pay red-light camera tickets, speed camera tickets, traffic tickets, and abandoned vehicle fees. Licenses also cannot be suspended and held due to parking tickets and vehicle compliance tickets.

ASAP Act Builds Momentum:

Thanks to everyone who has helped take action so far on the ASAP Act, a federal bill that would create a grant program to improve commuter rail station accessibility to the tune of $1 billion a year for ten years.

Also, don’t miss U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth’s interview about why she’s championing the ASAP Act!

Advocacy Job Openings at Access Living:

For those interested, Access Living is seeking an Education Policy Analyst and a Latinx/Immigration Community Organizer. Visit Access Living’s Job Openings page for more details about the positions and how to apply.

Please share this info with fellow disability advocates. Thank you for your commitment!