Pennhurst & PA Deinstitutionalization

We partnered with the Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Citizens (PARC) to close the institutions and secure community-based living arrangements for the residents. The Law Center’s deinstitutionalization efforts in Pennsylvania led to a drastic shift in the lives of people with disabilities, as the population of state institutions in Pennsylvania decreased from the tens of thousands in the 1960s to just over one thousand in 2008. Though there is still much work to be done to secure necessary services in the community, our efforts helped build a new, carefully structured system of community living arrangements capable of replacing large-scale warehouses for people with disabilities.

Project Updates

Embreeville Center – Coatesville, PA

Western Center – Allegheny County

Pennhurst closed, but litigation continued through 1990s to enforce the settlement agreement

Settlement reached to close Pennhurst

Third Circuit ruled in favor of plaintiffs, but Supreme Court overturned the Third Circuit ruling

Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s ruling

Order for state to develop community placements and services for all Pennhurst residents goes into effect

Halderman v. Pennhurst goes to trial, Court ruled in plaintiffs favor

Halderman v. Pennhurst filed