Restrictions of the liberty of the disabled
Inadequate housing for the disabled
Institutionalization restricts the liberty of disabled persons and prevents them from free association with their families and the rest of the society. Many institutions are situated in rural underpopulated areas and inmates are nearly always segregated by sex. Privacy is frequently restricted by ward-type living arrangements and 24-hour supervision; mail is often opened and telephone and other communications limited or not allowed. Institutionalized persons are commonly barred from marriage, voting and work, whether capable of those activities or not. These practices stunt normal growth and infantilize the victim. Normal challenges essential for the stimulation of learning and problem-solving capacity are replaced with artificial survival. Many institutions are understaffed and overcrowded, which enhance the likelihood of low staff morale, excessive reliance on drugs to control disabled persons. Even the best of institutions encourage disabled persons to become passive and dependent, developing an institutional personality, itself a disability, which makes it all the more difficult for a disabled person to re-enter society.