Accused Jiro’s Story: Is the Series Based on a Real Case of Abuse?

Image Credit: Elly Dassas/FOX

Fox’s ‘Accused’ is an anthology series focusing on social and political issues through its stories. In its eleventh episode, titled ‘Jiro’s Story,’ the show turns its attention toward the case of abuse and neglect in care homes. The protagonist of the story is a man named Jiro Tamura, who sends his brother, Sam, to live in a care home after their mother dies. His brother had been in an accident when he was a child, which caused him some problems with his speech. When Jiro finds bruises on Sam’s body, he gets suspicious of the people in the care home and ends up committing a crime that leads to his arrest. The events shown in the episode are deeply upsetting and make us question the true reality of such places.

Jiro’s Story Takes Inspiration From Real Events

Image Credits: Steve Wilkie/FOX

‘Jiro’s Story’ is not based on a true story. However, like other episodes of ‘Accused,’ it is inspired by real events. It highlights the problem of neglect and abuse in care homes, which are more prevalent than one would imagine. Over the years, several harrowing cases have emerged which could have inspired the creators of ‘Accused’ to write ‘Jiro’s Story.’ David Buckleys’ is one such case.

In 2001, David, who had Down syndrome and other medical issues, was so severely abused by the staff of a care facility that it led to his death. His brother, Richard, first noticed the abuse in 1999 and moved David to a state-run group home. However, the new place didn’t treat his brother well either. Reportedly, a staff member “hosed him down with scalding hot water” after he soiled himself. David sustained second and third-degree burns and died two weeks later.

In a more recent case, 21-year-old Nicky Chan was “badly beaten along the head, sat on, and punched” at the day program where his parents had placed him so that he was better looked after. Reportedly, he was beaten by one of the caretakers while another watched and did nothing. Nicky’s family took the case to court, and even though the accused was found not guilty, they continued fighting for better conditions at care homes. In 2020, their efforts led to the signing of the Act To Protect Persons with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities from Abuse, aka “Nicky’s Law,” in Massachusetts.

Image Credits: Elly Dassas/FOX

A barrage of such cases raises a question about the lack of accountability of care homes when such incidents happen. Statistics dictate that in 2020, over 15,000 complaints were filed regarding abuse and neglect. It is estimated that a significant number of such crimes are not reported for various reasons. According to a 2020 WHO study, 64% of nursing home staff members admitted to indulging in abuse or neglect of their residents. The neglect is believed to have been exacerbated during the pandemic when people complained of an extreme lack of care for their loved ones, placed in care homes. Reportedly, at least one abuse or neglect case has been reported in about 85% of care facilities in America. A study conducted in over five states found that 97% of such cases were not reported to the police.

The direness of the situation is exhibited by the fact that even when the cases are reported, the care homes and their employees are mostly said to get away with it without any serious repercussions. A 2021 New York Times article reported on the distressing inaccuracy in the rating system, which allows people to choose a care home. It suggests that some investigators, who are supposed to ensure that a place is fit to function as a care home, didn’t report serious incidents while rating the site. Reportedly, even when such cases are reported and tried, they don’t actually reflect on the rating system, which means that a care home with a five-star rating could be the site of an appalling crime, and the public would never know about it.

In an investigation, the Times found that at least 2,700 incidents considered severe were not factored into the rating system. While efforts are being made to curb this problem, the bad conditions in some care homes persist, leading to the abuse of the people entrusted to the facilities by their families. Through ‘Jiro’s Story,’ the Fox series brings this issue to the fore, making the audience aware of the problem and vigilant to such threats to their loved ones.

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