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Law in Context

Abstract from Volume 17 No 2 (2000) Explorations on Law and Disability in Australia

Closing the Doors: Insight and Reflections on Deinstitutionalisation

Lesley Chenoweth

Chenoweth discusses the shift from deinstitutionalisation to community living in order to establish whether the lives of people with disabilities have been improved as a result of moving into the community. The institutionalisation of people with intellectual and physical disabilities is considered in the context of the historical provision of disability services. While the move to community living has been predominantly motivated by a desire to respect the dignity of people with disabilities by bringing them back into the community, Chenoweth argues that this is insufficient in itself to be a measure of the success of deinstitutionalisation. Access to services and supports is essential for the well being of those who have been moved into the community, and the failure to provide sufficient resources could place people with disabilities in a more invidious position than what they had in their previous institutional lives.

(2000) 17(2) Law in Context 77
Keywords: Deinstitutionalisation; Discrimination

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