Communicating Effectively with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Corrections

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The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990. It envisioned a nation where Americans with disabilities would become fully integrated into the American Society.

Today, we more than expect Americans with disabilities to be properly integrated into American Society with reasonable accommodations. Hotels have accessible showers for elderly guests. Ramps in our government buildings are designed for people with wheelchairs. These very same ramps are now widely used by parents pushing their baby carriages, reinforcing how accessibility can be for everyone.

Closed-captioning is available in all television sets in America, including English or Spanish captioning. Disability accommodations have become more “universally accessible,” making product and service designs far more available to the greater general public, including housing, transportation, telecommunications and jails.

Title II of the ADA, regulated by the Department of Justice, requires that state and local government entities provide reasonable accommodations to Americans with disabilities. As state and local taxpayers, they are entitled to local government services. The ADA also requires state and local government entities provide effective communication with Deaf or Hard of Hearing Americans.

For Deaf or Hard of Hearing Americans, reasonable accommodations should be tailored to individuals’ specific disabilities and capabilities. Accommodations vary widely among Deaf person or Hard of Hearing individuals and they are not always easily understood.

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