||The new Federal Communications Commission rule will require all prison phone companies to provide video communication services for deaf and hard of hearing prisoners.
For four years, while incarcerated in Maryland state prison, Alphonso Taylor, 49, said he was the only deaf man in his unit. And he had no way to call or communicate with his loved ones outside of prison, who used sign language.
“I feel really alone,” he told advocates in a September 2020 videophone call from a Baltimore County jail. “I’m constantly holding back a rage from deprivation of information.”
During the pandemic, phone calls became an even more vital lifeline for people in prison. But many deaf incarcerated people were still cut off from meaningful communication, as few had access to the technology needed to sign with family at home.
In a major step in the fight over accommodations for deaf people behind bars, the Federal Communications Commission will soon require all prison phone companies to provide video communication services for deaf and hard of hearing prisoners. The new order, which goes into effect in January 2024, also applies to people in jails, immigration detention, juvenile detention, and secure mental health facilities nationwide.
“Incarcerated people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind, or who have a speech disability are in a prison within a prison,” wrote Jessica Rosenworcel, chairwoman of the FCC, announcing the new rule last September.
Read on at https://www.themarshallproject.org/2023/03/21/deaf-prison-fcc-video-calls.