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Mansfield Training School and Hospital

1860- 1993

Mansfield, Connecticut


In 1917, the Mansfield Training School and Hospital was created as two institutions merged in the state of Connecticut to form one. The School and Hospital for the mentally retarded (1860) and Connecticut School for imbeciles at Lakeville (1910). The state facility would specialize in the treatment and care for the mentally retarded. The would residents worked in weaving, wood working, industrial shops and print when they weren’t doing academics. The 1930s and 40s took a major toll on the institution. With budget cuts, increasing of residents and the facilities much needed repairs, Mansfield was in need of more staff and buildings to run efficiently. The concerns over the dangerous number of residents and the extensive wait list to get in, it had created a demand for other institution. In the 1940s the state constructed and opened Southbury Training School to help relieve the pressure it much needed. Even with the new state school, Mansfield continued to struggle with over crowding. Around the 1950s four new dormitories and Longley School were constructed on the campus. Mansfield continued to expand over the years to support its growing demand. The institution grew so much that at one point it owned 1,000 acres with 85 buildings. The 1960s brought new ideas and treatments for the mentally retarded. Increased staffing and relocating residents from dormitories to on-campus cottages or group homes for more independence became more and more present. The schools objective now was to rehabilitate as many of it residents as possible so that they could return as a citizen that would be self-supporting in the community and to assist and care for any residents that can not return. By the 1970s the population started to dramatically decreased with more residents becoming more independent or living off campus. The school started to increased its activities and later got involved in the Special Olympics. With all these positive changes in Mansfield in 1978 multiple lawsuits were filed against the school and hospital due to the growing concerns over the quality of care for its residents and deteriorating facilities. A major key in the closing of the institution would be in the lawsuit, CARC v. Throne. By the late 80s early 90s the population continued to decrease and the change for institutionalizing residents was changing Mansfield School and Hospital closed in 1993.


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