A personal-care home operator in Jackson, Mississippi will spend time behind bars for neglect and operating without a license.
Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood announced that the operator, Helen Page, pleaded guilty to 15 counts of misdemeanor neglect of vulnerable persons in her care and one count of operating without a license earlier this month. By entering an open plea, Page rejected the state’s recommendation and threw herself at the mercy of the court.
She was sentenced to one year imprisonment, a $10,000 fine and court costs of $289. She was immediately taken into custody. The Judge also issued an order for the Health Department to relocate the vulnerable persons still in the care of Page to appropriately licensed facilities.
Operated out of a three-bedroom house
According to Hood, Page operated a personal care home in a small residence. When investigators went to the address, he said they found 16 individuals residing in a three bedroom home.
All suffered from various mental health diagnoses and had been shut up and locked in the structure without ability to escape in the event of an emergency. They were left unattended for long periods of time.
Under Mississippi law any governmental or private institution for the aged or infirmed that provides group living arrangements for four or more persons who are unrelated to the operator and who are being provided food, shelter and personal care, whether such place is organized or operated for profit or not, must be licensed by the State Department of Health (DOH).
Page’s personal care home was not licensed and Page had been issued cease and desist orders by the DOH on two occasions prior to the investigation,” Hood said.
“Unfortunately, there are many illegally run personal care homes throughout the State,” Hood said. “In these type cases, the owners will often keep moving locations to avoid being caught, all so they can collect the victims SSI checks which average $550 to $600 a month. We’re doing our best to catch them and put them out of business.”