Report: DOJ Investigating Possible Human Experimentation at Facility for People with Disabilities

Oh my. The worst nightmare of any person with a loved one who has a disability is that they are being treated badly by their caretakers.

A report from local news in Iowa tells us that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is investigating a state-run facility for people with disabilities with a belief that there may be human experimentation.

WeAreIowa reports:

Local 5 obtained an email sent Monday by DHS Director Kelly Garcia to department staff.

In it, she announced Glenwood Resource Center Supervisor Jerry Rea was on administrative leave and Woodward Resource Center Superintendent Marsha Edgington would serve as interim superintendent.

In November, the DOJ sent Gov. Kim Reynolds, R-Iowa, a letter announcing its investigation into both the Glenwood Resource Center and Woodward Resource Center.

The DOJ’s letter explained what their investigation will be focused on. It includes the following checklist:

Are the residents at risk of harm by:

  • Harmful and uncontrolled human subject experiments
  • Inadequate medical and nursing care, physical and nutritional management and behavioral health care
  • Needless and harmful restraint practices
  • Incidents causing needless physical injury
  • Being denied the right to services in the most integrated setting

The DOJ defines integrated settings as providing those with disabilities the same opportunity to live, work, and receive services as this who do not have disabilities.

“Upon receiving the letter from the DOJ, [DHS] Director Garcia has done a phenomenal job,” she explained. “She sent a team down to do a fact-finding mission to start to gather information.”

Reynolds added that Thursday, the University of Iowa is sending a team to check out the Glenwood patients and make sure their health is okay.

According to DHS spokesman Matt Highland, three people have died in the past eight weeks at Glenwood Resource Center.

This is not the first time the Glenwood Resource Center has been in the spotlight for possible maltreatment. In 2018, five of their employees were sentenced to probation for the mistreatment of residents.

“I said all along that there were many factors that went into that decision, but I think it really indicates that leadership is really important,” Reynolds continued. “I have been very grateful to [DHS] Director Garcia. She has been working extremely closely with my team around the clock, giving updates, talking about what we need to do, looking at strategies on changing the structure of the department and how it’s run.”

Reynolds added that her administration is cooperating with the DOJ.

Glenwood Resource Center is one of two state-run facilities, managed by the Iowa Department of Human Services.