Commentary: South Carolina has duty to protect disabled from abuse

We ought to be ashamed. Not just because the latest review of assisted-living homes shows that some are taking our tax dollars in order to abuse the mentally ill and mentally disabled, the physically disabled, the frail elderly — locking them away in sweltering, roach-infested facilities, serving up rotting food and out-of-date medications, forcing them to do manual labor and beg for toilet paper.

Not just because our state is doing precious little to protect the current victims or even warn off potential victims, but instead is making it practically impossible for inspectors to do anything about living conditions we wouldn’t tolerate at the county animal shelter.

No, we ought to be ashamed because this isn’t news. We’ve known about it for years. We’re told about it every time someone else dies of neglect or abuse in a community residential care facility, every time the government-mandated watchdog group Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities issues another report, every time auditors review how any of the half-dozen state agencies charged with regulating bits of the system aren’t getting the job done.

To read the complete editorial, visit thestate.com.