A brother and sister wrongly held in an Iowa mental home for 15 years were honored by legislators this past week. In 1943, six-year-old Melvin Yates and his four-year-old sister, Phyllis, were sent to the Glenwood Hospital School because their parents couldn’t care for them. Parental neglect arrested their development, but the two were not mentally retarded. Once the siblings caught up to their peers, they were never given mental aptitude tests. An investigation by the Des Moines Register discovered nearly 180 of the patients in Glenwood were not mentally retarded. Register reporter George Mills broke the story in the 1958. Mills says once released, those patients had difficulty making the transition to the outside world.Mills still talks with Melvin and Phyllis Yates, both of whom are married and living out-of-state. Few of the 180 people who were wrongly held in Glenwood’s Home for the Mentally Ill are still alive. Mills believes the state should give those few who remain a 25-thousand dollar stipend for their retirement.Mills is now 93 years old, and he promises to keep pressing on the issue to make sure a wrong committed years ago is righted.
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