Program Creation

CLRP was established as the result of a law suit filed by the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union (CCLU) in 1989 against the Department of Mental Health (now the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services - DMHAS). The complaint in Doe v. Hogan alleged that residents of the state’s psychiatric hospitals were being denied their constitutional and statutory rights to legal assistance. The parties settled the case and, with the assistance of a panel of experts, had the Consent Decree approved by the Court.

CLRP provides free, high quality, legal services to low income persons with psychiatric disabilities living in Connecticut, primarily on matters related to their treatment and civil rights. One of CLRP’s most important goals is to empower people with psychiatric and other labels by increasing their own ability to influence the decision-making processes that, to a large extent, control their lives.

CLRP is a non-profit Connecticut corporation with its principal place of business in Middletown. It is governed by a Board of Directors which meets on a quarterly basis. The Executive Director of CLRP is hired by the Board of Directors and has full responsibility, both fiscal and administrative, for running the Project, hiring/firing staff, and entering into contracts on behalf of CLRP. In addition to the Executive Director (who is an attorney), CLRP’s staff includes a Legal Director, Business Manager, staff attorneys, paralegals, Operations Coordinator and Operations Assistants/Screener. Most of the advocacy staff spend substantial time at satellite offices in mental health facilities throughout the state, or conducting outreach and intake at community sites, including, but not limited to, social clubs, soup kitchens, and other community providers.