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Annual Report and 990

From the Executive Director

COVID-19 so disrupted life for CLRP's clients, staff, and the rest of the state that it seems likepr e-pandemic events happened a lifetime ago.Last March most CLRP staff pivoted to remote  work to serve our clients. We sued in federal court
to address conditions at Connecticut Valley Hospital and Whiting Forensic Hospital. We are grateful to the Impact Fund for their financial support and to our partners at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law and the Center for Public Representation for their help in holding DMHAS accountable for infection prevention and control. We represent clients in DMHAS-operated inpatient facilities to enforce protections under  the Patients' Bill of Rights, especially regarding
involuntary medication, restraint/seclusion, discharge planning, and meaningful participation in treatment. CLRP presented to the legislative CVH-Whiting Task Force on multiple occasions.

Administrative meetings with leadership at other DMHAS-operated facilities include discussion of changes to policies; it is always helpful when facilities share that information with CLRP, so that we can respond more effectively when clients come to us with complaints.

Representation of individual clients informs our systemic advocacy. We learned current law does not automatically stay probate orders during an appeal; involuntary treatment might begin while an appeal is pending. We believe that people who appeal a probate court order granting authority for involuntary treatment should be entitled to an automatic stay; other statutes provide authority for the facility to administer medication involuntarily if there is a true emergency need for it.

We represent clients to help preserve their limited resources so that they can build great lives in the community. That includes cases in which clients are challenging accountings, challenging expenses paid by conservators that result in reducing funds that would otherwise be available to the client to assist with discharge, and fighting overpayments when conservators have not managed the client's estate properly. We also are part of a cross-disability coalition advocating for less  restrictive options like supported decision-making, which maximizes clients' ability for self-determination, and supports clients in making their own choices  about their recovery.

We are centering racial equity in our work, including the disproportionate impact the forensic mental health system has on Black men. When people living with mental health conditions are unable to access culturally competent, community based, voluntary supports and services in a timely manner, too often they end up interacting with the criminal legal system. We support the development of true alternatives to the existing system, which too often criminalizes disability-related behavior.

Kathy Flaherty, Esq.
Executive Director

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