Mother (2014)

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Pharmacy Cabinet at a Nursing Station in Devon Hall — Pennhurst State School

“They would call you ‘mom.’ I don’t know where the word mom came from with them but I don’t care if they were 60 and I was 30, I was mom. I think that’s why most of us called them the kids, because they were like children to you and you got to love them.” – Theresa Fakete, Pennhurst Aide and Union President 1968-1987

Nikon D700 w/20mm f2.8 Nikkor

In a Different Light

 

I’m Feeling a Bit Dopey (2014)

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Devon Hall at Pennhurst State School — East Vincent, Pennsylvania

On May 30, 1974, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of former and present residents of Pennhurst School and Hospital  –  Halderman v. Pennhurst  Docket: 74-1345

From the trial transcript: 

“Psychotropic drugs at Pennhurst are often used for control and not for treatment, and the rate of drug use on some of the units is extraordinarily high…”
“Larry Taylor entered Pennhurst on February 28, 1961. In the early 1970’s, Mrs. Taylor (mother) questioned the staff about the medication being given to Larry. He was very lethargic, falling asleep at school and barely able to walk. The physician in charge of Larry’s unit, checked Larry’s medical record and found that he was on dilantin, a drug used to control epileptic seizures. Larry was then removed from dilantin and placed on Mellaril, a psychotropic drug. This, too, made him lethargic.  Larry was transferred to Woodhaven (Hospital) in 1975 where Mrs. Taylor testified that Larry does not receive any psychotropic medication, and is able to walk independently.”

Nikon D700 w/20mm f2.8 Nikkor

In a Different Light

I Know Where Your Heart Is (2014)

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Mayflower Hall at Pennhurst State School — East Vincent, Pennsylvania

“Linda Taub, who is blind in addition to being retarded, was admitted to Pennhurst in 1966 at the age of fifteen. According to her father, during her nine year residency at Pennhurst, Linda received only custodial care and she experienced regression rather than growth. Time on the ward was spent sitting and rocking, with few activities. During one of their visits in 1968, Linda’s parents found Linda, a person capable of walking, strapped to a wheelchair by a straightjacket. A staff member explained that by strapping her into the chair, they would know exactly where Linda was.” – from the transcript: Halderman v Pennhurst

Nikon D700 w/20mm f2.8 Nikkor

In a Different Light

Punishment (2014)

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Mayflower Hall at Pennhurst State School — East Vincent, Pennsylvania

“I had a friend. He used to get me scared. He used to say, “If you don’t watch yourself here, they will write a little note and send you to a bad ward, and they will keep you on the ward and put you in the sweat box, put you in shackles and restraint jackets. . .” and all this kind of stuff. The low grade ward: it was filthy and dirty — holes in the walls, holes in the floor. Walls would be cracking open; clients would eat the paste, the chalk off the wall, the tile off the wall. They would just eat it. And the only way to keep them from eating it would be put them in restraints, tie them to the benches. And that’s what I seen one day.” – Roland Johnson, Resident at Pennhurst 1958 – 1971

Nikon D700 w/20mm f2.8 Nikkor

In a Different Light

Label Me (2014)

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Devon Hall at Pennhurst State School — East Vincent, Pennsylvania

Patients at Pennhurst were grouped into several broad categories, none of which served as an effective label for the purpose of treatment. Under these classifications patients were listed as either an imbecile or insane for their mental ability and classified physically as either epileptic or healthy. With these labels, patients were segregated into higher and lower functioning wards; a classification system that would be used in future as a means of punishment for those who acted out.

Nikon D700 w/20mm f2.8 Nikkor

In a Different Light

Sit and Play (2014)

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Mayflower Hall at Pennhurst State School — East Vincent, Pennsylvania

I was amazed at the way the elements had uncovered the many different colors of paint used on these walls over the past years of abandonment. The multi-colored wall speaks to the beauty of these forgotten structures.

Nikon D700 w/20mm f2.8 Nikkor

http://inadifferentlightbook.wordpress.com/

Store Away Your Troubles (2014)

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Mayflower Hall at Pennhurst State School — East Vincent, Pennsylvania

It seems difficult to believe that 50% of the patients here were dropped off by parents or guardians – there just was not the capacity to care for children with disabilities at home. While some parents believed that they were doing what was best for their children, others wanted any child with a disability hidden away, as they were seen to be an abomination from God.

Nikon D700 w/20mm f2.8 Nikkor

http://inadifferentlightbook.wordpress.com/