Codey sees disparity in how mental illness sufferers treated

TRENTON – Sen. Richard Codey, (D-27), Roseland, said today there seems to be major differences between the types of facilities offered to people suffering from developmental disabilities and those for people suffering from mental illness.

Codey made this observation after Arc of New Jersey Executive Director Thomas Baffuto insisted residents would “not (be) moving to boarding houses” if the state decides to go forward with building more community-based homes to phase out large state institutions.

Codey and Baffuto made their comments at the  Legislative Panel on State Psychiatric Hospitals hearing today.

Codey said he has visited mental health facilities with Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker, (D-28), Newark, and said many of the individuals suffering from mental illness wind up in “hellholes.”

“It’s pathetic,” he said, adding that problems like this should be rectified.

On a positive note, though, the long-time lawmaker said he has seen some perception changes regarding group homes over the years.

“Fears of group homes have evaporated,” he said.

Baffuto said the positive change “speaks volumes about the community providers.”

Codey cautioned, though, the state will probably always have institutions.

Earlier coverage:

Arc sees N.J. as behind the curve regarding community-based settings

  Codey sees disparity in how mental illness sufferers treated