U.S. Department of Justice

Deaf Inmates: Communication Strategies and Legal Considerations

Publication year: 2015 | Cataloged on: Feb. 08, 2016

Library ID

  • 030181


Other Information

  • 2015
  • 6 pages
"In recent years, there has been a marked increase in the number of lawsuits brought against law enforcement agencies, departments of correction, private prison companies and reentry service providers on behalf of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. Entities that fail to provide equal communication access for deaf individuals frequently find themselves on the losing end of costly litigation, with judges finding violations of federal disability rights laws in the U.S. Constitution … As a result of increased transparency, criminal justice and corrections professionals across the nation are scrambling to create and implement policies to address the needs of this historically underserved and misunderstood population. However, although well-intentioned, these policies frequently do not resolve even the most basic concerns related to working with deaf individuals … This article tackles some of the commonly held misconceptions about deaf and hard-of-hearing people, and it concludes by providing recommendations to support criminal justice and corrections professionals’ efforts to prevent discrimination against and abuse of deaf and hard-of-hearing people in correctional settings. Armed with this knowledge, agencies of all sizes can limit or avoid liability exposure by taking proactive steps to ensure all deaf people have equal access to programs, services and activities pursuant to federal disability rights laws" (p. 44). Sections of this article include: defining "deaf"; background- "prison within a prison"; Case study by HEARD (Helping Educate to Advance Equal Rights of the Deaf); ten myths and misconceptions; summary of the law—Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and Title II of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); recommendations; and conclusion.

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