Statement on Louisiana Department of Corrections’ Exploitation of Deaf & Hearing Imprisoned People

Today, in solidarity with thousands of imprisoned people in more than 15 states who are striking to bring attention to & end horrible prison conditions and prison labor exploitation, HEARD, LRID and over twenty organizations released a statement responding to decades of neglect of the needs of Deaf/Disabled imprioned people. Our hope is to end nearly a decade of illegal and inhumane exploitation of imprisoned people by the Louisiana Department of Corrections.



We condemn the continued isolation, neglect, abuse and exploitation of people imprisoned in Louisiana. We specifically condemn exploitation of Deaf/Disabled people through the use of incarcerated people as “interpreters.” We also condmmen the exploitation of hearing imprisoned people who make anywhere from 30-260 times less than free world workers.

In addition to being a direct violation of federal disability rights laws, use of inmates and other unqualified people as “interpreters” raises numerous concerns for imprisoned and non-imprisoned people, deaf and hearing alike. While we encourage all prison systems to support access to meaningful careers, this can not come at the expense of disabled/deaf imprisoned people.

Our organizations demand that the Louisiana DOC end this exploitation immediately and implement safe, ethical and community-led alternatives to ensure effective and equitable communication/information access for imprisoned community members.

If you also are concerned about this exploitation and violation of disability rights laws, please contact the Louisiana Department of Corrections directly to share your thoughts and concerns. Let them know that the community cares, is watching and will not stand for anything short of access to ASL resources, signing Deaf and hearing educators, counselors, community advocates and access to qualified, neutral sign language interpreters.

LA DOC Secretary Jimmy Leblanc
Phone: (225) 342-6740

HUGE thanks to the dozens of people who helped with ASL & Spanish translations including:

Topher González Ávila
Tina Banerjee
Kathleen L. Brockway
Laura De Las Casas
Gina Gonzalez
Gloshanda Lawyerx
Talila TL Lewis
Ártemis López
Paola Morales
Estefanía Ponce-Domniguez
Niesha Washington-Shepard
Others who will remain unnamed.


[for access info please visit ASL version and review info section]

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