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Archives & Special Collections

The Willowbrook Consent Decree

April 30, 1975- Judge Orin Judd signs the Willowbrook consent decree, ending a three-year legal battle to improve conditions in what was once the largest institution in the country for the mentally retarded. The state agrees to sign the consent decree. Under the terms of the agreement, by 1981 Willowbrook will house no more than 250 patients, all from Staten Island. The cornerstone of the consent decree is that the state “would be required to spend $2 million to create 200 places for Willowbrook transferees in hostels, halfway houses, group houses, and sheltered workshops.” The  consent decree also provides for the creation of a Willowbrook Review Panel “to oversee the  implementation of the orders and standards.”

Click here to read the consent decree in pdf format.