<p>This educational fact sheet is a resource from Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf (HEARD). HEARD aims to raise awareness about the abuse of and discrimination against deaf prisoners in the United States. Answers are provided for: American Sign language (ASL) v. English; the number of deaf inmates; deaf prisoner rights; laws that apply to deaf inmates; what "prison in prison" means; policies regarding deaf prisoners; why deaf prisoners are placed in solitary confinement and what happens there; accommodations prisons are providing for deaf inmates; how deaf prisoners manage life in prison (without accommodations); abuse of deaf inmates; how phone calls are made by deaf prisoners; some immediate steps that should be taken by departments of corrections; what happens when deaf prisoners are released from incarceration; and what can those concerned with the treatment of deaf inmates can do.</p>
This program addresses the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA legislatively impacted the field of corrections when it was signed into law in 1990. Some correctional organizations have made significant progress to address this legislation, others have found themselves in costly litigation, and for others, ADA compliance needs to be addressed. Compliance is everyone's business. Panelists will provide a systemic view of the following: ADA awareness and ADA myths; fifteen-year history of the ADA in corrections; collaboration among administrators, health care, and custody staff; relationship between security and the ADA concept of "direct threat"; reasonable accommodations within a correctional setting; dialogue between stakeholders regarding ADA compliance in corrections; benefits of accessible design; and the future of ADA in corrections.
If you want an update on how the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) impacts disabled offenders then this webinar is a must view. "While there is still a significant gap regarding our knowledge about people with disabilities and Deaf people involved in the justice system, we do know there is a great need to increase access to justice for these people. People with disabilities and Deaf people experience violent victimization at rates three times higher than people without disabilities, making them one of the groups at highest risk of harm in the country. Despite these high rates of victimization, they continue to experience significant barriers to services and the justice system. These barriers not only exist for victims of violent crime but for people with disabilities and Deaf people who are incarcerated. Research reflects that 36 percent of state and 24 percent of federally incarcerated adults report having at least one disability. These individuals experience accessibility barriers from the time of arrest and through incarceration" (Vera website). "With America in the midst of substantial criminal justice reform and celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), this summit will bring these two issues together. Leaders from both the disability and criminal justice fields will explore the impact the ADA has had on people with disabilities with disabilities who have had involvement with the justice system, either as victims or suspects/offenders. Panelists will also share their visions for justice for people with disabilities for the next 25" (YouTube website). This website provides links to presentations by Senator Harkin and the five panelists. It also has a link to a Fact Sheet (from July 2015) that covers the impact of ADA in disabled offenders. This document has sections about: what we know about justice-involved people with disabilities and deaf people—suspects and offenders, and victims and survivors; the ADA's impact on justice-involved people with disabilities and deaf people—victim service organizations, law enforcement agencies, the courts, and prisons and jails; opportunities at the intersection of access and justice involvement; and additional information about the ADA's five titles, the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008, and Olmstead V L.C. 527 U.S. 581 of 1999.
"Recent research suggests that Deaf women experience higher rates of sexual and domestic violence than their hearing counterparts, but are often shut off from victim services and supports that are ill-equipped to respond to their unique needs. As a result, they are denied access to services that could help them safely flee from abuse, heal from trauma, and seek justice after they have been harmed. This policy brief offers practical suggestions for expanding and enhancing Deaf survivors’ access to victim services and other supports" (website). Sections of this publication include: introduction; the Deaf community in the U.S.; research on victimization is limited; higher rates of domestic and sexual violence; unique experiences of violence; barriers to services and justice; Services for Deaf, by Deaf—a promising strategy; enhancing the capacity of hearing service providers and systems; collaboration between Deaf and hearing programs; five recommendations; and conclusion.
This report presents statistics regarding "the prevalence of disabilities among prison and jail inmates, detailing the prevalence of six specific disability types: hearing, vision, cognitive, ambulatory, self-care, and independent living. Important differences in each type of disability are highlighted by demographic characteristics. The report also assesses the prevalence of disabilities with other health problems, such as a current chronic condition, obesity, ever having an infectious disease, and past 30-day serious psychological distress … Highlights: An estimated 32% of prisoners and 40% of jail inmates reported having at least one disability; Prisoners were nearly 3 times more likely and jail inmates were more than 4 times more likely than the general population to report having at least one disability; About 2 in 10 prisoners and 3 in 10 jail inmates reported having a cognitive disability, the most common reported disability in each population; Female prisoners were more likely than male prisoners to report having a cognitive disability, but were equally likely to report having each of the other five disabilities; Non-Hispanic white prisoners (37%) and prisoners of two or more races (42%) were more likely than non-Hispanic black prisoners (26%) to report having at least one disability; [and] More than half of prisoners (54%) and jail inmates (53%) with a disability reported a co-occurring chronic condition" (website).
HEARD strives to protect the legal rights of people who are deaf. "HEARD has volunteers nationwide who conduct deaf prisoner/defendant research, assist deaf prisoners with access issues, investigate possible wrongful conviction cases, and educate the Deaf community about the law and current legal issues, among other things. HEARD empowers the Deaf and legal communities by providing education about individual rights, and Deaf culture and communication, respectively. HEARD created and maintains the nation's only deaf prisoner database, and is working to increase representation of the deaf in the legal profession by connecting deaf youth with legal education organizations, law schools, and law firms." Points of entry on this website include: about HEARD; advocacy; DAJ Blog; get involved; and contact information.
The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) sets standards to ensure that information about PREA and victim services are accessible to people with disabilities. The purpose of this guide is to provide strategies to correctional agencies that will aid their compliance with these PREA requirements. The strategies discussed in this guide draw on established practices used by victim service organizations—both community-based and those based in government agencies—to make their services more accessible for this population. By offering concrete recommendations on how to adapt these community practices to correctional settings, this guide aims to help adult and juvenile correctional facilities increase accessibility for people with disabilities. While it is not a focus of this guide, an important component to making PREA and victim services accessible for people with disabilities is to institutionalize any new practices or partnerships in facility policy" (p. 2). Sections comprising this guide are: purpose; defining disability; sexual abuse and incarcerated people with disabilities—applicable PREA standards, and legal compliance; strategies for making PREA information and victim services accessible—increase access for the broadest range of users, increase capacity for individualized accessibility solutions, ensure access to reporting, and ensure access to victim services; staff training and resources; and conclusion.
Contents of these proceedings include: meeting highlights; issues important to meeting participants; "Diversity Recruitment: Techniques and Community Networking" by Arthur Wallenstein; "Preventing Staff Sexual Misconduct" by Susan McCampbell; "Consular Notification and Access" by Clyde Howard; "Why Corrections Professionals Should Be Concerned With In-Custody ADA Issues" by Timothy Ryan; "Special Needs of Female Inmates" by Richard Rouse, William Montague, Dennis Scheuller, Joe Schmitz, and Bridget Gladwin; "Legal Issues Update" by William Collins; "Topics for Next Meeting" by Richard Geaither; meeting agenda; list of meeting participants; and supplemental materials on legal cases cited.
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.