Effective Communication with Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Blind, and Low Vision Incarcerated People

66 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2022

See all articles by Tessa Bialek

Tessa Bialek

University of Michigan Law School

Margo Schlanger

University of Michigan Law School

Date Written: July 1, 2022

Abstract

Tens of thousands of people incarcerated in jails and prisons throughout the United States have one or more communication disabilities, a term that describes persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, low vision, deaf-blind, speech disabled, or otherwise disabled in ways that affect communication. Incarceration is not easy for anyone, but the isolation and inflexibility of incarceration can be especially challenging, dangerous, and further disabling, for persons with disabilities. Correctional entities must confront these challenges; persons with communication disabilities are overrepresented in jails and prisons and the population continues to grow. Federal antidiscrimination law obligates jails and prisons to avoid discrimination, promote integration, and ensure effective communication. This requires adequate resources and preparation, joined by a shift in policy, practice, and values: to meet their antidiscrimination obligations, jails and prisons must offer choice, flexibility, and individuation well beyond what is typical in carceral environments. This white paper offers a starting point for such efforts.

Keywords: ADA, Rehabilitation Act, prisons, jails, anti-discrimination, accommodation, policy

Suggested Citation

Bialek, Tessa and Schlanger, Margo, Effective Communication with Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Blind, and Low Vision Incarcerated People (July 1, 2022). Journal of Gender, Race and Justice, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4220060 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4220060

Tessa Bialek (Contact Author)

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States

Margo Schlanger

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States

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