Iowa facility that mistreated residents with intellectual disabilities nears closure

FLE - This undated file photo shows the outside of the Glenwood Resource Center administration building in Glenwood, Iowa. The Iowa facility for people with intellectual disabilities that was identified in federal investigations for violating residents’ rights will permanently close next month after a two-year process. (Kelsey Kremer/The Des Moines Register via AP, File)

GLENWOOD, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa facility for people with intellectual disabilities is set to permanently close after federal investigators said patients’ rights were violated there.

The 28 residents at the state-run Glenwood Resource Center will be moved out by the end of June and 235 staff members have been notified that they will be laid off, according to reporting by the Des Moines Register. The facility had 152 patients and about 650 staff members when Gov. Kim Reynolds announced in 2022 that it would close.

Scathing reports by the U.S. Department of Justice have condemned Iowa’s treatment of people with intellectual and development disabilities. The DOJ alleged that Iowa likely violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to provide services that integrate patients into their communities.

A report in December 2020 found that the Glenwood Resource Center likely violated the constitutional rights of residents by subjecting them to human experiments, including sexual arousal research, some of which were deemed dangerous by federal investigators.

Most of the residents have moved from the 380-acre campus about 115 miles (185 kilometers) southwest of Des Moines to community-based settings, such as residential facilities for those with intellectual disabilities or to host homes; nursing facilities or hospice care, said Alex Murphy, a spokesperson for Iowa’s health agency.

Officials told the Register that some were transferred to Iowa’s other facility, the Woodward Resource Center, which has also in the past been cited as deficient.