Action Needed – Disability Institutions History Bills

September 30, 2021 Sue Rorke

Massachusetts once had 27 state schools and hospitals for people with disabilities. Their full story has never been told. Thousands need answers before they are lost forever.

S.1257 and H.2090 : An Act establishing a special commission on the history of state institutions for people with developmental and mental health disabilities in the Commonwealth.

S.2009 and H.3150: An Act relative to facilitating access to public records

Visit for more information on preserving this important history. In addition to information about the bills, visit the News Page.

Take Action

Please e-mail the legislators you’re closest with, along with the committee chairs and tell them to champion and pass the commission bill S.1257/H.2090 and the records bill S.2009/H.3150. 

Committee Chairs

Mental Health (S.1257/H.2090) 

State Admin (S.2009/H.3150) 

Constituent Legislators

Email your State Rep and State Senator. You can find them by entering your zip code here

Your e-mail can be elaborate or it can be this simple: “I urge you to make the passage of S.1257/H.2090 and S.2009/H.3150 an urgent priority. Please take action to pass these bills today.” 

WBUR Report

WBUR featured a piece about Alex Green’s efforts, along with 25 disability organizations in Massachusetts, to create a human rights commission on the history of the state’s institutions for people with disabilities. Read and listen to the piece here: .

In the piece, Patricia Brown tells reporter Steve Brown about her time in one of the state institutions as a little girl in the 1950s. “They raped girls, they molest[ed] girls,” she said. “They drug you up and they molest you. And that’s the truth.” 

The history of these institutions is alive in people like Pat, but it has never been acknowledged by the state. It’s time to change that by having a human rights commission study this history, and a law to open up old records that are currently sealed.