The 1920’s saw the Eugenics Movement lose support during the beginning of the decade, only to receive a mandate from the U.S. Supreme Court in 1927.
After the devastation and staggering human loss of WWI, state eugenics laws were largely ignored, repealed, or defeated. Despite the public’s distaste for eugenics arguments, the construction of state institutions continued, and institutional superintendents quietly continued the practice of forced sterilization.
Significant efforts to open up employment to citizens with disabilities were made as federal support for vocational rehabilitation programs expanded. State-run institutions began instituting a ‘parole’ system, in which patients were released to partake in supervised employment in the community.
The decade also saw the establishment of the social worker as a widely accepted professional occupation. Social workers assisted individuals in reaching educational vocational goals, often advocating for the individual and saving people from a life within an institution.
The end of the decade saw a resurgence in eugenics policy, as the Supreme Court supported state’s rights to involuntarily sterilize people with disabilities.