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Silence to Signs: Bridging the Communication Gap for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Inmates in Prisons

There is a major lack of information about offenders with hearing disorders. Therefore this report is amazingly important. Any agency with deaf offenders needs to read this document. "This article addresses issues regarding deaf prisoners’ right to communication and provides a thorough understanding of Deaf culture and communication, and the importance of sign language to both of these. The project attempts to dig deeper into the research question of how sign language is inseparably linked to effective communication access for deaf and hard of hearing people. Secondly, it addresses whether if American Sign Language (ASL) classes should be offered in prisons" (p. 1). Sections following an executive summary include: background to violations of the American with Disabilities Act (ACA) and human rights; issues related to the prison system and deaf culture-misconceptions, no universal sign language, ASL's grammar and dictionary, lipreading as an inadequate mode of communication, aggressiveness, additional issues, advancing technology with prisons lagging behind, and the key of communication access; the project and its development; data and findings regarding a proposed ASL class; recommendations for implementing an ASL class; and conclusion.