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Most Recent DRW in the Media

Integrating disabled citizens into the community – Op Ed by DRW’s Milwaukee Office Director Barbara Beckert

The promise of the ADA — for people with disabilities to be fully integrated into our community — is being realized in Milwaukee County with the closure of the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex long-term care units.

Click here to read the Op-Ed on the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel website.

Audrey Nelson, a DRW partner and a Spirit of the ADA awardee, featured in the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram:

“Severe brain injury spurs local woman to help others like her; she’s being honored for efforts. Audrey Nelson has learned to never say no after a life-altering traffic crash in 1981.”

Read the article here:

People with Disabilities, Seniors and Families Share Concerns about State Budget Changes to Long Term Care

The Wisconsin Long-Term Care Coalition will be hosting a media event at 9:30 AM at Friday’s Joint Finance Committee budget hearing in Milwaukee. People with disabilities, seniors, and families will share concerns about the sweeping changes to Wisconsin’s highly regarded long term care system proposed in the state budget. Please read this release for more information.

Managing Attorney Kit Kerschensteiner quoted in prison article by Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

Excerpt from article in a series by Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism which appeared in WI State Journal and on WI Public Radio:

Kit Kerschensteiner, managing attorney with Disability Rights Wisconsin, a nonprofit advocacy group, said the allegations of abuse at Waupun are “occurring with such frequency” that they could merit an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department under the Civil Rights for Institutionalized Persons Act, which was previously invoked to bring about major changes in mental health care and discipline at the state women’s prison at Taycheedah. “We will continue to help individual inmates with their complaints, but we have a peashooter, and they have a cannon,” she said.

With complaints brought by inmates, a key issue is credibility. Kerschensteiner suggested that abuse occurs in part because guards know they have the upper hand in any disagreement. “Regardless of what actually happened, it always boils down to, who is going to be believed: a reputable guard or a convicted felon?” she said. “Corroboration is hard.”

For the full article:

DRW Public Policy Director Lisa Pugh’s Hometown Newspaper Celebrates her Appointment to Presidential Committee

Reprinted courtesy of the Dodge County Pionier:



Daughter’s rare disability sparks passion and vision

by Gayle Rydstrom

Shortly after Erika Pugh was born 14 years ago, she was diagnosed with a rare disability called Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome (RTS).

According to the RTS website, the disability ‘refers to a specific pattern of physical features and developmental disabilities which occur together in a consistent fashion. Individuals with Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome have short stature, developmental delay, similar facial features, and broad thumbs and first toes.’

“[Erika’s] early years were tough on our family,” said Horicon native Lisa Pugh, Erika’s mother. “She was fed through a tube for the first three years of her life and had many therapies and doctor appointments.”

Lisa discovered her strong views regarding inclusion for people with disabilities and her passion for advocating on behalf of other families because of Erika’s disability. Erika does not speak and has a significant disability, but she is the core of the Pugh family.

“My husband [Michael, a Mayville native] and I have a vision for including Erika in everything we do and to support her to live as independent and fulfilling life as possible,” said Lisa. “We strongly believe every person with a disability has something to contribute to our communities and they should not be segregated in our schools, our workplaces or our places of worship.”

On May 9, Lisa was appointed to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. It is a two-year term. Although Lisa will visit Washington at least twice each year, she and her family will continue to live in Madison.   Click here to read the rest of DRW Public Policy Director Lisa Pugh’s Hometown Newspaper Celebrates her Appointment to Presidential Committee »

Disability Rights Wisconsin Continues to Seek Improvements at Milwaukee Mental Health Complex

Disability Rights Wisconsin will continue to strongly advocate for improvements in quality of care for people at the Milwaukee Mental Health Complex. Read this March 31 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial: State & County Officials Want to Shoot the Messenger.

DRW Quoted in Green Bay Press-Gazette Article Re: Competitive Wage Employment

The Green Bay Press-Gazette quotes DRW regarding new federal guidance that encourages Wisconsin to increase competitive wage employment in the community for persons with disabilities.

“Far too many people with disabilities are employed or living in segregated communities,” said Lisa Pugh, public policy coordinator for Disability Rights Wisconsin, a nonprofit that advocates for people with disabilities. “Our organization supports the idea that everyone has the capacity to work . . . Agencies need to do a better job of helping developmentally disabled workers find and keep jobs in the general workforce.”

Read the full article here:

Federal Government Requires State to Take Closer Look at Disabled Workers.

DRW’s Lisa Pugh Weighs in on Latest Attempt to Pass Special Needs Vouchers

Public Policy Coordinator Lisa Pugh spoke to Milwaukee Public Radio about the attempt to reintroduce special needs vouchers in Wisconsin.

Click this link to listen: Lawmakers Take Another Stab at Special Needs Vouchers.

Ex-Inmates with Mental Illness Lack Access to Treatment – Urban Milwaukee Article

DRW Managing Attorney Kit Kerschensteiner is quoted in this article about poor access to treatment for people with mental illness discharged from the prison system:

WPR Interviews DRW Milwaukee Office Director Barbara Beckert

Wisconsin Public Radio interviewed Barbara Beckert, DRW Milwaukee Office Director and Coordinator of the Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force, on “How to Fix the Mental Health System.” Click the link to listen: