1991 Report to the President: Citizens with Mental Retardation and the Criminal Justice System
- The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID)
- Publications, Annual Reports to the President
- Annual Reports
The President's Committee on Mental Retardation (PCMR) was originally established by Executive Order 11280 on May 11, 1966, to provide continuing advice to the President and to the Secretary of Health and Human Services concerning a broad range of topics relating to mental retardation. The membership of the PCMR includes the Secretary of Health and Human Services, who serves as the Chair of the Committee, the Attorney General of the United States, the Secretary of Education, the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the Secretary of Transportation, the Director of ACTION, and 21 citizen members appointed by the President. The Committee is charged with submitting an annual report to the President concerning mental retardation, and any additional reports or recommendations as the President may require or as the Committee may deem appropriate.
In 1961, five years before the establishment of the PCMR, the President's Panel on Mental Retardation was created to assess the status of mental retardation in the nation. The Panel was instructed to submit a report to the President at the end of one year, which would identify major issues and include recommendations to "combat" mental retardation. Among many areas, the Panel identified numerous legal and human rights issues concerning citizens with mental retardation. The Panel submitted its highly acclaimed report to the President in 1962, outlining major issues with a set of recommendations for the nation to consider.
Based on the work of the Panel and the need for continuing assessment of the state of mental retardation in the nation, the PCMR was established.
The PCMR has monitored legislation, policies and procedures affecting the relationship between citizens with mental retardation and the law since its establishment in 1966. Although citizens with mental retardation have the basic rights to "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness," American society has frequently denied people with mental retardation full access to these rights. The intent of this Report to the President is to strengthen the awareness of legislators, public policy makers and the general public regarding this dichotomy and to ensure development and continued availability of Federally protected rights for citizens with mental retardation.
The information and recommendations contained in this Report are the result of the "Presidential Forum on the Offender with Mental Retardation and the Criminal Justice System" held in Bethesda, Maryland, September 14-16, 1989. The Conference was sponsored by the PCMR, the National Institute of Justice and the National Institute of Corrections of the U.S. Department of Justice, the Office of Human Development Services of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services of the U.S. Department of Education. The participants at the Forum included a selection of nationally-recognized leaders and experts in the field of mental retardation, law, and the criminal justice system.
The focus of the Forum was to assess accomplishments and problems in the human and legal rights area since PCMR sponsored the following conferences: The First National Conference on Legal Rights for Citizens with Mental Retardation in 1973, the Second National Conference on Citizens with Mental Retardation and the Law in 1985, and several other conferences relating to legal and human rights and criminal justice between these years. In this report, PCMR considered current trends, defined a base for efforts in this area, and developed a scenario through and beyond the end of the century.
The Report includes recommendations by the conference participants regarding mental retardation, law enforcement, the judiciary, and corrections.
Albert L. Anderson, D.D.S.
President's Committee on Mental Retardation