CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Deprived of liberty! Think of those in ATUs

26 March, 2020

• THE coronavirus has got us by the scruff of the neck, feet dangling in the air, and if we’re stockpiling its because we’re responding to the primordial instinct of hunter-gatherer that’s latent in all of us.

That’s one aspect of the baseness of human nature where the thin veneer of civility evaporates faster than drops of water on a hot tin roof.

This would have been characterised as behaviour typical of the lumpenproletariat in the past but I’m sure the majority of us can now be held culpable.

But shortages aside, hope springs eternal that other bugbear of society; being isolated or quarantined, will cast an oblique awareness of the wretched lives of thousands of inmates with autism deprived of their liberty in Assessment Treatment Units (ATU’s) all over the country.

Living in perpetual seclusion from their loved ones they are there merely to be exploited as cash cows by ruthless institutions with callous disregard for basic human rights.

If compassion be a measure of our humanity then let it show by giving truly compassionate people (elected by concerned relatives or loved ones) carte blanche to probe into the functioning of these ATU’s and mental institutions.

If not as an auxiliary of the Care Quality Commission then as an independent body with clout to expose the horrors and barbarity of life within these confines.

WALTER ROBERTS
Brecknock Road Estate, N19

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