Sat, Mar 23, 2002 - Page 2 News List

Legislator shocked by treatment of mentally retarded

By Sandy Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Legislators yesterday lamented the poor condition of some of the nation's institutes for the mentally retarded.

"How people are treated [in some of these institutes] is simply inhumane and cruel," said KMT legislator Shyh Jong-shyong (徐中雄), who witnessed the dismal treatment he spoke of during his visit yesterday to the Cheng Chiang Institute for the Mentally Retarded, located in Yangmei, Taoyuan County.

"When we first arrived at this institute, we were welcomed by a beautiful garden that is well-maintained and well-cared for," he said.

"However, as we slipped into the back room without the know-ledge of the institute's staff, we were shocked by what we saw," Hsu said.

"We saw several people behind locked doors who were handcuffed and wearing dirty clothes," he said. "The rooms were revolting. They smelled of urine and excrement.

"The housing conditions are totally disgusting. It's almost like a pig farm.

"Such treatment and conditions are simply unacceptable,especially when it is an institute that is registered with the government," he said.

According to Hsu, there are approximately 1,700 registered institutes for the mentally retarded across the nation. These institutes receive subsidies from the government and are monitored by the government.

"On a scale of A to D, roughly 47 of them have been given an either a C or D grade by the government for their dismal conditions and the poor management of their institutes," he added.

"In other words, we are talking about at least 1,500 people who are currently suffering from neglect and treatment that is not of optimal standards," he said.

"Judging from what I have seen in this registered institute [Cheng Chiang], I am concerned that maybe those institutes that aren't registered yet are treating their patients even worse."

In response to Hsu's dissatisfaction over the government's supervision of the institutes for the mentally retarded, Yu Cheng-hsien (徐政憲), minister of interior, said that his ministry would take immediate action to address the inadequate care at the institutes.

"We will send people over [to the Cheng Chiang Institute for the Mentally Retarded] to better understand the situation as well as other institutes nationwide," Yu was quoted as saying. "And for those who fail to make improvements, they will have their licenses revoked and will be forbidden to continue operating."

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