Executive Order

Executive Order No. 112: Rights of the disabled

Date: 10/30/1974
Issuer: Francis W. Sargent

Table of Contents

WHEREAS, Among the rights and interests of all citizens of the Commonwealth are a decent level of education, training, treatment, care, and housing; self-determination, privacy, dignity, and self-fulfillment; a humane and accessible physical, social, psycho- logical environment; work, just compensation, and economic security; and the right to vote and to receive due process in the criminal justice system; and

WHEREAS, It is contrary to public policy and not in the interest of the citizens of the Commonwealth that the rights of citizens of the Commonwealth who are disabled be abrogated through the misfeasance or nonfeasance of public agencies or officials or private parties; and

WHEREAS, The rights of disabled persons in communities and in institutions must be adequately defined, protected and monitored to ensure their constant enforcement; and

WHEREAS, The disabled are often especially vulnerable to the loss of their rights in the criminal justice and law enforcement systems during the course of arrest, interrogation, trial, and dis- position, due in part to the absence of resources and training sufficient to make law enforcement and criminal justice agencies fully aware of and sensitive to the special needs of disabled persons; and

WHEREAS, It is the responsibility of the Commonwealth to ensure by law and administrative practice the fullest protection of the rights and interests of all persons, including disabled persons; and

WHEREAS, The Commonwealth is committed to the accomplishment of all reforms necessary and feasible for discharging this responsibility; and

WHEREAS, Numerous private citizens, members of the bar, governmental and private agencies, and consumers and representatives of consumer organizations have expressed their deep concern regarding the identification and protection of the interests of disabled persons;

NOW THEREFORE, I, Francis W. Sargent, Governor of the Commonwealth, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Supreme Executive Magistrate, do hereby order as follows:

1. There shall be a Governor's Commission on the Rights of the Disabled, hereinafter called the Commission, comprised of seventeen members, appointed by the Governor, who shall be, but need not be limited to being, representative of the organized bar, law enforcement and corrections agencies, social and protective services agencies, civil rights advocates, and consumers and consumer organizations. The Governor may, from time to time, designate a member of the Commission to serve as Chairman.

2. The Commission shall:

(a) collect and analyze existing reports and information concerning issues relating to the rights and interests of the disabled, and the protection thereof, in such areas as education, training, treatment, care, and housing; self-determination, privacy, dignity and self-fulfillment; a humane and accessible physical, social, and psychological environment; work, just compensation, and economic security; voting and receiving due process in the criminal justice system with respect to arrest, legal representation, interrogation, pre-trial diversion, trial, criminal responsibility, competency to stand trial, the right against self-incrimination, disposition, and post-adjudicatory remedies;

(b) conduct such hearings as are necessary further to define or investigate such issues;

(c) convey findings and recommendations regarding such is- sues and their potential solutions to officers and agencies of the Commonwealth including, but not limited to, the Attorney General, the Joint Committee on the Judiciary of the General Court, the Massachusetts Judicial Council, and organizations of law enforcement and corrections officials, and advocate their resolution; and

(d) develop and publish a final report including recommendations for statutory reform and reform of administrative regulations and practices relating to the interests of the disabled, with recommendations for their implementation, to be widely distributed in accordance with a plan developed by the Commission and approved by the Governor.

3. The Commission may, as provided by law, expend such funds as may be available for its purposes and appoint such officers and employees as may be necessary for the performance of its functions.

4. For purposes of this order, the word "disabled" refers to persons with a physical or mental disability, or disabilities which are of such severity that, alone or in connection with social, legal, or economic constraints, they require the provision of specialized services over an extended period of time directed toward the individual's social, personal, physical, or economic rehabilitation or habilitation.

5. This order shall expire and the operation of the Commission shall terminate either one year from the commencement of employment of the first officer or employee employed by the Commission or on September 1, 1975, whichever is sooner.

Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston this thirtieth day of October in the year of our Lord One Thousand Nine Hundred and Seventy-Four and of the independence of the United States of America, the One Hundred Ninety-Ninth.

FRANCIS W. SARGENT

Governor

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

JOHN F.X. DAVOREN

Secretary of the Commonwealth

Contact for No. 112: Rights of the disabled

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