Inclusion Daily Express
Saturday, October 14, 2006
  "CVTC Mission Impossible?"
Inclusion Daily Express

When I read about Virginia officials' plan for Central Virginia Training Center, I couldn't help but be reminded of the original "Mission Impossible" TV series from the early 1970s.

I'm thinking about one of those episodes where the good spies capture and sedate a fellow that they know has hidden inside his safe a secret formula that will destroy the world. The guy wakes up in his "office", which is really a fake look-alike copy of his real office, complete with a look-alike desk and look-alike safe. As he goes to the safe to retrieve the formula, hidden cameras watch closely to retrieve the combination. The good guys get the combination and the formula and save the world -- all by tricking the man into believing it was indeed his office.

The Lynchburg News & Advance recently wrote about plans to replace CVTC -- which houses 500 people -- with a massive complex of "small homelike settings" to house about 300 people. Each unit would have a kitchen -- not because the "mentally retarded residents" would ever be able to use a kitchen, or "even sit at a table". Heavens no. It's because "the sounds of preparing a meal and the aroma of cooking would create a more homelike environment".

Each 4,000 sq ft "home" would house up to 20 people, and would be connected to four other "homes" by "artfully designed connectors" to "create a sense that each unit is a separate home space for the residents".

Each unit would also include "staff support areas, as well as laundry room, electrical-mechanical, staff lounges, staff toilet -- 'Things the residents don't use. So when the resident is in his home, he doesn't know all this other stuff is there," explained one official.

How sneaky is that?

Also, out in the back of the main complex, would be "homes" for those with "behavioral" issues.

Who are they kidding? I mean, how stupid do they think the residents are?

Hey, you can dress it up to impress visitors and lawmakers all you want, but creating true community has nothing to do with how things look, smell, or sound. It has to do with meaningful participation, interaction, equality and freedom.

An institution by any design is still an institution.

Frankly, I find it impossible to believe the people housed there will be fooled.

Dave Reynolds, Editor

"Virginia Plan: Replace Massive Institution With Massive Complex Of Huge 'Homes'"
Commentary on disability rights issues and stories posted on Inclusion Daily Express, the international disability rights news service found at

Location: Spokane, Washington, United States
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