Oct. 20 (UPI) — TV personality Paris Hilton visited Capitol Hill on Wednesday to push for legislation to reform the nation’s facilities for troubled teenagers, sharing her own experience of living in such a treatment center.
Joined by Reps. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., the Hilton Hotel heiress lent her support to a bill that would put in place a bill of rights for teens in psychiatric treatment facilities.
Hilton spoke about her experience living at Provo Canyon School in Utah, where she said she underwent mental, emotional and physical abuse for several months.
“I was given clothes with a number on the tag, ” she said. “I was no longer me, I was only number 127. I was forced to stay indoors for 11 months straight, no sunlight, no fresh air. These were considered privileges.
“I was strangled, slapped across the face, watched in the shower by male staff, called vulgar names, forced to take medication without a diagnosis, not given a proper education, thrown into solitary confinement in a room covered in scratch marks and smeared in blood and so much more.”
Khanna said he was working to write legislation allowing youngsters in such facilities the right to call their parents, be free from restraints, and have access to clean water and proper nutrition.
“This is not a messaging bill — this is a bill we need to pass,” he said.
“Congress needs to act because children are dying in the name of treatment,” Hilton added. “This is a human rights issue. People should be outraged with what’s happening.