The COVID-19 is affecting all of us. This invisible virus is sweeping across Montana, our country and the world and is disrupting our lives and daily routines. We are all being asked to do our part to “flatten the curve” and practice “social distancing”.
The virus does not discriminate. That being said, policies and practices that are implemented, though intended for the greater good, can be unintentionally discriminatory having negative and disproportionate impacts on people with disabilities. Disability Rights Montana staff is working with and monitoring city, county, and state officials as policies and practices are implemented.
This week we sent a letter to Governor Bullock itemizing steps we believe are necessary to protect Montanans with disabilities. We highlighted discrimination in the delivery and access to medical services, quarantine capacity for people who live in congregate living settings, capacity to provide in-home services, halting termination or redetermination of Medicaid eligibility, flexibility for providers who deliver in-home and day program services, support and expansion of mental health services, and the monitoring of institutionalized settings. We are gratified in knowing that some of our recommendations are being […]
Today we filed an emergency petition with ACLU of Montana to ask the Montana Supreme Court to protect prisoners with disabilities by reducing the number of people who are now in or who will enter Montana’s jails and prisons. The ACLU of Montana, together with the Beck, Amsden and Stalpes law firm filed the petition on behalf of Disability Rights Montana.
The novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is spreading exponentially across the country and the state. According to the petition, the Montana Supreme Court has the power to immediately reduce the number of incarcerated people in Montana in these extraordinary circumstances. Doing so would mitigate the mortal harm to incarcerated people with disabilities while also protecting other incarcerated people from undue harm, public health, and public safety.
According to public health experts, the two most important ways to prevent the spread of the highly-fatal COVID-19 are social distancing and frequent handwashing. For people in Montana’s prisons and jails, complying with those methods is virtually impossible. An estimated 32 percent of prisoners and 40 percent of those in jail report having at least one disability. These disabilities make them particularly susceptible to COVID-19. Further, when the outbreak reaches Montana […]
Given the seriousness of the situation, we created the following health and safety guidelines to support and protect our staff and clients.These guidelines will be in place for the foreseeable future, but we will reassess as new information emerges.
Please know we are equally committed during this time to continuing our services to protect and advocate for people with disabilities.
Starting March 16, 2020 until further notice:
Our office is closed to outside visitors indefinitely. Our phone lines will remain open during regular business hours. Please understand that we may return calls from blocked numbers, as some of our staff may be working from home.
If you are a Montana resident and are seeking assistance from our office, please contact us by phone at 1-800-245-4743 or complete and submit the Request for Services Form. We will do our best to respond in […]
Almost 50 years after the passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Catholic College has failed to prioritize accessibility despite the struggles that people with disabilities face on the campus. Carroll College has included accessibility in the Master Plan for the College, but has refused to create an action plan or designate personnel to oversee this process. Students, alum, former faculty, and community members have come together to tell their stories regarding the inaccessibility of the College. We will be sharing these stories here on our website. A new story will be available each day during the week of March 9, 2020. Please check them out to learn about the experience of people with disabilities at Carroll College.
Carroll College student, Taylor Tyson, talks about her experience as a student with a disability explaining that “𝒊𝒕 𝒘𝒂𝒔 𝒋𝒖𝒔𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒘𝒉𝒐𝒍𝒆 𝒃𝒊𝒈 𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒄𝒆𝒔𝒔 𝒋𝒖𝒔𝒕 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒎𝒆 𝒕𝒐 𝒈𝒆𝒕 𝒂 𝒓𝒐𝒐𝒎 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝑰 𝒘𝒂𝒔 𝒂𝒃𝒍𝒆 𝒕𝒐…𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒆𝒓.”