HEARD announces that they will be kicking off their national campaign on June 27, 2014 at midnight. They are asking everyone to re-tweet and use the hash-tag #DeafinPrison to create awareness about the abuse of and discrimination against deaf prisoners across the nation. Their goal with this campaign is that they are asking that you watch “Deaf In Prison” and then share your reactions, stories and/or any information you might have on social media using #DeafInPrison.
The video will be available for 48 hours beginning at midnight (EST) Friday, June 27, 2014. For more specific information about where the viewings will be hosted, you can follow them on Facebook to be updated with the latest information.
According to the Oregonian, David D. VanValkenburg, 48, has filed a federal lawsuit against the Oregon Department of Corrections. Mr. VanValkenburg contends that the state violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to provide him with a qualified sign-language interpreter. In the lawsuit, Mr. VanValkenburg claims that he was “he was systematically excluded from full participation in intake interviews, classroom education and training, medical treatment and counseling sessions, among other activities, after he was imprisoned in 2000”.
Mr. VanValkenburg filed the claim last month in the state court of Multnomah County, but according to the Oregonian, it now has been moved to federal court in Portland, Oregon.
Mr. VanValkenburg can communicate through written notes and “inmate” sign language interpreters that he trained himself, however, his claim that the state violated his privacy by not allowing him professional nor qualified sign-language interpreters might have some merits.
The Oregonian did follow up with the Oregon Department of Justice, but their spokesperson, declined to speak with them citing that the agency does not comment on pending litigation.
Note: Last year, Deaf inmate sues Oregon Department of Corrections, says sign-language interpreter wasn’t provided for medical visits, AA meetings
TSG would like to note that prisoners should have better access to accommodations while they are in prison, however, we hear stories again and again of prisoners who are deaf not getting basic services that is required by law for them be able to obtain.
TSG is a huge supporter of Deaf in Prison and we urge you to look into this issue and educate yourself! There are many ways you can do this but the best way is for you to follow #DeafInPrison.
More information below!