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ADA25: #13 of 25 -- Jails and Prisons (02:43)

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZr-T0Ci2EY

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Does the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) apply to those in jail or prison? Find out as NAD Attorney Debra Patkin explains what that looks like. View the entire #ADA25 series at www.nad.org/ADA25.

Video begins with an off white vintage background. Three black and white photos appear. First photo shows a group of people marching, one holds a NAD poster. Second photo shows another group of people marching, one holds a poster "We Shall Overcome." Third photo shows President Bush signing the Americans with Disabilities Act. Text appears "ADA25 -- Americans with Disabilities Act". Video flashes to white then to Debra Patkin inside NAD Headquarters. On bottom left corner, "#ADA25" appears as a light watermark. On bottom right corner, the NAD logo appears, also as a light watermark. 

DEBRA: This video discusses deaf rights while incarcerated - whether being in jail after being arrested or in prison after a conviction. Many deaf inmates feel that they receive additional punishment for the crime of being deaf. They have no access to information and as a result, are isolated. This is wrong - and illegal under the ADA. Jails and prisons must ensure that they are accessible for deaf and hard of hearing inmates. 

Just what is it that jails and prisons must do under the ADA? They must provide auxiliary aids and services when necessary to ensure effective communication, such as qualified interpreters, CART, captioning, visual notifications, basically they must be sure that whatever audible information is being presented is accessible to deaf and hard of hearing inmates. 

Jails and prisons have to provide such access for everything it provides to hearing inmates, such as orientation, activities, classes, vocation, disciplinary procedures, parole. Their obligations extends to cells - aural information must be accessible. For example, if inmates receive audible notification when the cell doors are unlocked, there must be an auxiliary aid or service to ensure that such information is visual for deaf and hard of hearing inmates. Public announcement systems must have a visual component such as captioning. 

Currently, our battle with jails/prisons focuses on getting videophones for deaf and hard of hearing inmates. Videophones are equivalent to telephones, allow for direct communication. In comparison, TTYs can be burdensome, with technical issues and all. Today, with a significant number of deaf and hard of hearing individuals using videophones and very small amount of people using TTYs, there is a greater demand for VPs to be installed in jails and prisons. We do not mean that TTYs should be removed, they should remain for inmates who find them - and not videophones - effective. 

The NAD has several pending cases. Some are large, with several deaf plaintiffs alleging that entire system is inaccessible. Some cases have one plaintiff. Both types of cases lead to systematic change if we prevail. However, it is important to realize that the legal system makes it EXTREMELY hard to fight jail/prisons. This does not stop the NAD, which will fight until we accomplish access in jails and prisons all over the country.

Video fades to a gradient background with dark blue to light blue, a grey National Association of the Deaf (NAD) logo is centered. White text below the logo appears, "A production of the National Association of the Deaf (copyright) 2015 All Rights Reserved" with four teal social media icons, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

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