Fourth Circuit Hears Debate Over Prison Video Calls for Deaf

A Fourth Circuit panel heard arguments Thursday over whether a North Carolina prison violated a deaf civil detainee’s First Amendment rights by not allowing him to use a videophone to contact people on the outside.

Thomas Heyer, who has been deaf since birth, first sued the Bureau of Prisons in 2011 over its failure to provide American Sign Language interpreters for medical and mental health treatment and religious services, access to a videophone and warning lights in his cell.

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