Unedited Session Transcript
ADA Accommodations to Incarcerated Deaf Persons: Breaking down barriers to reintegration
Katrina Miller & Damara Paris
>> Okay, can everybody hear me okay? Heard that. Good morning. Is everybody awake? Did you all have your coffee, went out and got your Seattle Best? It is really my pleasure to be here today presenting with Damara Goff Paris. We have a history together. We used to work together in Oregon in community rehab. And since then, I've gone on and I'm at the University of Arkansas now and Damara is with the Public Utility Commission. Why don't you come on up, Damara, introduce yourself.
>> Hi, my name is Damara Paris. I used to be a rehab counselor for the deaf in RCD at Western Oregon University. Starting in 1994 when I graduated from there, I became the director for health program for deaf and hard of hearing. I did that for three and a half years. We provided a lot of services locally to some inmates and offenders who are incarcerated, generally for youths and that's where I got some of my experience. I'm not providing rehab counseling services anymore. I've transitioned now to working for telecommunications programs and I oversee the relay service and equipment distribution in the state of Oregon so I've made quite a change but I'm enjoying what I'm doing. Sometimes I miss serving -- providing direct services but I enjoy being able to present on different topics and Katrina is a food friend of mine so I still keep my fingers involved. I was going to tell you more about myself but that's enough. I don't want to bore you. Check I don't remember your chairs. There may be something underneath your seats. Check blind your seats. Look behind. A. What are we looking for? Q. If you find one, grab it. There you go. I'm going to give you a free copy of our book. Yours to keep. Did you find another one? There are supposed to be two of them. We found one. Is there another one behind somebody else's chair?
>> Everybody's going to be digging around in all the chairs trying to find --
>> There it is.
>> Somebody found it.
>> Here you go.
>> Thank you. Wow. This is what I wanted.
>> Yeah, it is autographed and everything. So I'm going to turn it back over to Katrina. ?
MILLER: Thank you, Damara.
>> Okay. Let's get started. All right. Damara and I as I said we are both graduates from the Oregon RCD program and from Oregon I moved out to bow month Texas to do some dock work because I didn't know any better at the time. D O C work. I learned a lot it was a lot of fun. Because of my background with Damara and working with youths who were imprisoned in Oregon I became interested in that topic that and that's what I ended up doing some of my dissertation work on so some of what we'll do today is talk about that work. I did my dissertation study on 97 deaf men and women incarcerated in the state of Texas. And studies have shown that people with hearing loss are overrepresented in the criminal justice system. When I say overrepresented, I mean the percentage of deaf people incarcerated is greater than the percentage of deaf people in the population. For example, to use another example, about 12 percent of the Texas population is African American and they represent about 44 percent of people incarcerated in Texas. The figures are estimated up to 30 percent of people who are incarcerated have a hearing loss. This doesn't necessarily mean that they are deaf, which is what we're focusing on today. But the 30 percent figure comes from studies done in the 70s by the American speech and hearing association. So the 30 percent includes people who are hard of hearing, deaf, and maybe who don't even know they have a hearing loss or haven't been identified as having a hearing loss and all of them can benefit from services. Federal prisons screen their inmates for hearing loss but state institutions do not typically. So the total number of people with hearing loss in prison is actually unknown. The state of Texas has over two hundred inmates that they have identified that have a hearing loss, and about 90 inmates again that are deaf. These are inmates who had identified hearing loss before coming into the facility and/or they may have self identified at some time during their incarceration. They make up less than one percent of the Texas prison population. And Texas incarcerates a lot of people, they incarcerate about 133 thousand people. So more than most states. Even being a large state and also being kind of tough on crime. This study focused on deaf people only and what I want to do is give a little bit of background and show some information about the population before we talk about ADA accommodations and how to get in and serve people and help them transition back to society. When I say deaf I'm talking about people who have a severe to profound hearing loss, or people with a hearing loss who routinely use ASL to communicate. And that's how they group people in Texas. If you have a hearing loss, and you sign, then they will put you in a facility with the deaf group and they will call that the sheltered facility. So you have an opportunity to live with other people who also sign if you sign whether or not you have -- you may have just a mild hearing loss. So this criteria combines both the cultural and ideological definitions of deafness and the reason that they use that is because 90 percent of the deaf prison population uses ASL or a combination of signs and English and ten percent use only spoken English or Spanish but they are still with the deaf group because that's where the services are. Deaf group. In Texas -- well before I continue, you should know that I'm going to present on about a total of 99 cases that I got from the Texas department of criminal justice and each case didn't have complete information in the file. So some of the percentages are based on just the number of available cases and I've marked those slides so you can kind of get some idea. Did we go through that yet? Go back a little bit, yeah. 90 percent of the people in my study had hearing loss prelingual hearing loss or con gentle hearing loss before the age of five. Congenital. And 84 percent had a severe to profound loss, which means they are unable to discriminate speech audiologically. And 90 percent routinely used ASL or some combination of English and signs. The other ten percent either had no language or used only spoken language and speechreading. A lot of people want to know if there's any significant differences between the hearing and deaf prison populations. How many think there's going to be difference in the racial make-up of the groups of deaf and other prisoners? Anybody? Think there will be no difference there? What about the IQ's of the two groups in do you think there will be any difference? We're going to look here in just a minute. How many think there would be a difference in the types of crimes committed by deaf and hearing people? Do you think it will be the same? You don't think it will be the same?
>> (Shakes head.)
>> Okay. Let's take a look. Okay. For deaf and hearing offenders there was really no difference in gender. Most prisoners are male and that held true for the deaf group that I was working with. And typically there's about four to six percent are women. And we had six percent in Texas that were women in both the hearing and deaf groups. That could be because society responds differently to women when they commit crimes. It could be because the response -- well -- because of different crimes I guess but they still only make up a small percentage of inmates. And it is understood that women have different needs but for the purpose of this study they were just put in together with the men because there were just not enough of them to study them separately and get useful data. The average age of state prisoners is about 30. It is considered to be about 30 and among hearing prisoners in Texas the average age was 35 and the average age of deaf prisoners was 37. So again we didn't find any difference there in the groups. With race, it was virtually the same. About 44 percent of the prison population in Texas 10 is afternoon can American. This reflects the poverty and unemployment and lack of education in this community as well as inequities in the treatment of people had when they go through the system. However, in both groups there was really no difference. There were no -- there was one slight difference. They had about one percent of indigenous people that were hearing that were in the prison and there were no deaf people that were -- American Indian or indigenous that self identified that way because that's how they do it. They come through and they would report their race. Okay. What would you guess -- well the average IQ and people don't like to get into IQ too much so I won't dwell on it but the average IQ in the general population is considered to be a hundred. Any thoughts on what it might be in the prison population? About ninety? Yeah. That's about right. That's usually what it is estimated to be. And go ahead and -- and that held true for both deaf and hearing offenders in Texas the average IQ was about 92. So it is generally a little lower than the general population. Okay. Not all state prisons administer IQ testing. But Texas does. During intake inmates are given the army revised beta test. And this is a nonverbal IQ test which is generally judged to be -- okay. Generally judged to be good for persons who are deaf. It is not the best one for deaf persons as a lot of people know but it is what they use there. There are certain issues with the test, like inmates who just entered the prison environment might be really afraid and they might be too scared to perform well and that's true for hearing and deaf people. Also true for hearing and deaf people, inmates may refuse to do their best in the exam at the appointment when they are coming into prison because of emotional issues and things that they are going through. Also this test is historically associated with cultural biases. It used to be a version of it used to be used when immigrants would come over and they would show them pictures and they would have to identify what a fork is and what you would use it nor and things like that. Of course the test has changed since then but it is associated with that. And I think we're out of order here with the slides. Do you want to leap on to the next one because -- I guess we're out of orders on the slides. But anyway, move on to the next one, yeah. Okay, IQ can also be tested nonverbally -- IQ can be tested nonverbally but testing educational achievement requires reading skills most of the time and for deaf people the performance section of the standard achievement test is usually the best measurement. In the Texas prisons they give everybody the test of adult basic education when they come through. And it has three sections math, reading, and language. And what they do is they average those three scores together to get the person's educational achievement overall. So the obvious problem is the reading grade level of deaf people in the general population is about 4th grade and coming into prison it is even lower, and so the average reading grade level of deaf prisoners is 3.1, which is right at the federal standard for functional illiteracy so they are not really able to read things they get in prison like rule books or how to prepare for your parole hearing and all of those things. And so the overall educational achievement for the group was even lower than the reading score. It was grade 2.4. And this is probably because some inmates were just not able to take the test or they were unable to take certain parts, like the language portion. How does this come fair to educational achievement of hearing inmates? Do you think there will be a difference there? You think it might be the same? Think it might be a little different? I have read estimates that 50 to 75 percent of the prison population is ill literate. What I found in Texas was from the people that they tested was that the average educational achievement overall was about 7th grade. For prisoners. Let's look at offenses. Offenses. There were some differences in offenses committed by deaf and hearing people. Property and drug offenses were about the same. Other offenses is kind of a catch-all category that Texas uses and there might be things like peeping Tom or something like that in that category. Some offenses against children would be in that category. If they are not considered a violent offense. They usually are. But in the category of violent offenses, there was a significant difference. There was a little bit more violent crime. So the question automatically comes are deaf people more violent? And this has been discussed in the literature, and that is one way that a person can interpret those kind of results. But it would be really difficult for a researcher to do that because this is an initial study and even though it's the largest group that's been studied, the numbers are still small and so we can't generalize information about one group to all groups, especially about deaf prisoners to deaf people at large, and a lot of studies that have been done in the past have been on mental health patients that have been involuntarily incarcerated and some of those studies have been generalized to the rest of the population and we can't do that. These results reflect the numbers of people incarcerated for violent crime but not necessarily all instances of violent crime. ? People go on probation. Some people don't get caught. So that's some of the caveats for that but did find a difference. Let's look more closely at the violent crimes for a minute. You notice there are two major difference there, sexual assault and robbery were two categories where there were -- there was a big difference in the populations. In the case of robbery, there were more hearing people charged and incarcerated for robbery. Would anyone have any ideas why that might be? A. First thing that comes to mind is it harder for a deaf person to break into a place and know if anybody's there and can't overhear. I wouldn't want to be deaf breaking into a place and not knowing how noisy I was.
>>>. Also robbery tends to be a person to person crime, so how would they communicate with their victim? How would they wear a mask or, you know, how would they get them to comply? So I thought of that too and there may be other reasons, but so.
>> Maybe also that it is easier to identify, explain that a deaf person, smaller group of people, they have less -- smaller group to kind of go out and look for the suspect.
>> Absolutely. And in fact, people are likely to come pit crimes against other people in their own group and we know the deaf community is pretty small. I've read about cases where people were identified by their sign language and things when they committed crimes against other deaf people. So yeah, that might be a deterrent possibly, I don't know, but that was interesting. And the other area that we found a big difference in was sexual assault. Much more sexual assault in the deaf prison nor group. About 65 percent of sexual assaults were against children. That was about the same for the hearing group. But overall sex assaults was much lower in the hearing group.
>> Do you have any explanation for that or any theories?
>> Yeah there are lots of theories about that. Some of the theories are brain damage, and secondary disability in the population, about 30 percent of deaf and hard of hearing people might have a secondary disability that's educationally significant. And this may include learning disability or other disorders that impact the impulse parts of the brain. And so -- and their ability to learn social appropriate -- socially appropriate behavior and that sort of thing. So that's one. Another is social barriers to learning appropriate social behaviors and what you do and don't do socially and sexually with people. Also, there's a lot of talk about and discussion about exposure to abuse themselves, particularly in the residential school setting. That's one theory. Someone have a comment? I thought I saw a hand.
>> It wasn't my hand but I have a question.
>> Okay great.
>> Which colors deaf and which color's hearing?
>> Yeah, that's hard to read, isn't it? I'm sorry. The orange is deaf and the green is hearing.
>> Katrina can I ask you one more question. This is kind of a new topic to me, so I have a lot of new questions. Did you say and if you did I missed it, the sexual assaults were there more of them directed towards other deaf people did you say that? Or were they towards hearing people? Is there anything that tells the percentage of that. Q. I don't think there is literature or research about deaf on deaf crime. But typically, a lot of times, crimes are committed by someone that you know or someone in your circle, you know, things like rape and murder are most of the time against -- you're usually violated by a person that you know. So it stands to reason that we carry over although it has not been studied so I couldn't say for sure. So in general the public doesn't really like to see their money spent on the rehabilitation needs of prisoners. Even though an estimated 16 percent of inmates in general have mental illness. So the primary purpose of a prison is to administer punishment and not services. So that's a barrier when you're going to work with people who are incarcerated. It is recognized that poor education is related to criminal behavior, and most state prisons emphasize rehabilitation, training in the area of vocational skills. So they usually offer GED courses and various trades that you can learn while you're there. Which doesn't begin to meet the needs of people with mental illness and other disabilities but it is a start. And so any rehabilitative focus is generally on learning a trade and when they enter the system they are evaluated and placed into either adult basic education or vocational training and usually vocational training is what runs the prison. You go down and work in the kitchen or you go out and raise crops, they sell and they also use to feed the people that are living there. Particularly in the Texas system. They were very proud I think back in the fifties or so that it was 44 cents a day that they spent on each prison nor, so -- and that was what the public wanted, and so it is difficult to serve people in prison. And to get them prepared to make the transition. And that's what's going to be key because you might have someone who is put in for 16 or 17 years and the whole time they are there they don't get treatment, then it is time for them to transition back and they have no support. There either. They are not allowed to leave prison until they have an address to go to but that could be any address that they can come up with as long as they can contact the people there and say, yeah, they can come here. So -- the prison environment is usually not able to accommodate deaf people very well. The prison usually operates using a bell or just the sounds of things like doors clang. You hear the doors roll that's what they call it and then you know that's time to get up and they come around for the count and you have to be up and ready when they come for the count or you'll get written up and what they have in every day there is disciplinary cases and every day they have hundreds of disciplinary cases in prison and you go and you have a hearing about what rule you it was that you violated and then you get your punishment which might be they take away your commissary, which you get about once a month, you get to go buy toothpaste and potato chips and things like that. They take that away for 3 months. And they use progressive discipline, so the more offenses you commit, the more privileges you lose. Sometimes you have to move to a stricter place to live where there will be more supervision or it could be more dangerous in that area. So if you're deaf and you don't hear that bell or that door roll, then you get a disciplinary case. The officers that work there are not very sympathetic. Their attitude is that you are there to be punished and you better follow the rules and they don't have time to be soft hearted about people who can't get it together kind of thing. In general. So a lot of times you know, they will have to depend on other inmates who may or may not want to help, who may have a grudge, who may want to get even, who may realize that if a person doesn't get up, they get double portions on their food. And people are always hungry in prison, so these are some of the things that they face. And it is difficult for a prison to install visual alarms and things of that nature because the equipment is often converted. It'll be converted into something else rather quickly. So if they put a flashing light in it may disappear from the mount or installation and show up later as a weapon or some kind of tool or equipment somewhere in prison. And they can't control it they can't always watch it and know what happens to the equipment and even the person who needs the equipment if they give them a small vibrating alarm clock the batteries disappear. Things disappear and it gets parted out because it is a Bart tripping tool and it is something a person can use for survival and get the things that they need so it is difficult to provide those kinds of accommodations Texas does provide small about this big vibrating alarm clocks so that people can get to work on time in the prison, because depending on roommates just hasn't been successful. And it has been fairly successful with the clocks because they have rules about them. If you don't have your clock you can't get another one if it breaks or whatever. If you don't -- if you want batteries you trade what battery you have for a new battery. You don't get like a supply of batteries. So it has worked and the deaf prisoners there are a lot more able to independently show up for work and take responsibility for their behavior that way which is what they are expected to do.
>> They have to keep it in their pocket at all times?
>> Yeah they usually have to keep it pretty close to them. And other things that people need there was someone there that needed leg braces a deaf person that had post polio syndrome and needed leg braces and they didn't give him them. They said he had been through two sets of leg braces and they had been parted out and they are gone. They don't know what happened to them and they can't have more leg braces. So that's an issue. And so attitudinal barriers are also an issue like I mentioned with the officers. They expect you to comply and comply quickly if they see that you're not doing what they have told you to do immediately, you can get in trouble. There was a case in Texas where a man didn't have a battery for his hearing aid and he was being padded down and the officers were telling him look straight ahead and he was trying to read their lips and so he was beaten because he wasn't -- because he was not following orders and looking straight ahead. He was trying to look back and understand what he was saying. And that of course led to a lawsuit. Texas has had some problems with lawsuits in the past. They have a long history and they actually started providing ADA accommodations before the ADA was passed because of some of the lawsuits that they experienced. Officers often believe that a person is faking a hearing loss. They don't understand that if a person speaks they can still be very profoundly deaf. They don't understand that if a person has blindness why would they need sunglasses? And I saw him in the prison library reading, you know, so I know he's faking it. So they don't understand about the various aspects of deafness and deaf-blindness. There were two deaf-blind people also at the prison that I went to. So deaf people may understand certain words through speechreading and be able to follow certain orders but then again when you have a lot of information given and they are not understanding the officer may write them up for faking or for whatever. And they are not supposed to do that. At the administrative level they know about it and work on it but out on the floor there is not always that control. Among the inmates themselves, there's also problems sometimes. There's not a lot of problems with accommodations like interpreters and TTYs and things like that. But sometimes other inmates may view things as special treatment. Most of the time the big issue is things like TV captioning, lots of fights. We don't want the captions on. We want the captions on. Texas has two T versus where they house deaf people and one of them is required to have captions on all the time so that's how they handle that. They have two TV's if you don't want to look at captions look at the other TV then they can fight about what to watch but -- so there's usually lots of squabbles because people are dissatisfied in the prison environment. Food and TV are two of the big issues they will argue about. Prison is extremely isolating for a deaf person. You have a lot of people enclosed in a small space. Usually men probably in their early to mid -- early 20s to mid 30s so you have a lot of energy there and deaf people can be really vulnerable to physical attacks they can't hear people coming up behind them. And they have things that go on there like hits. There was one man that I worked with. He was Hispanic and deaf and he was he had been living in solitary for three years because he had gotten involved in a prison gang. And prison gangs are gangs that only exist in prison, although they have ties to the outside. And they are for survival and also to make money and it is like an underworld kind of thing. But they do have ties on the outside if they want to the somebody who is outside but so in the system, he was Hispanic. He got involved in a Hispanic gang and he got caught running notes and information back and forth from prisoners in isolation to prisoners out in the general population. So he's now isolated. He's been in a cell where he can't see anyone on either side of him for three years now. And it has taken -- the interpreter that I worked with there has said it really has taken a toll on his personality because he never has any stimulation at all visually with communicating with people other than the officers who like him. He is liked, but they don't spend a lot of time talking to him and stuff. They bring him -- they like him, they bring him treats and things, tacos and stuff but he doesn't have real communication. Whereas if you were hearing and you were in that environment you could yell out to the person next door to you. So a lot of isolation there and a lot of times when people first come into the prison and they are belligerent they get put into isolation right away until they decide to comply and get with the program. Well inmates wait for their disciplinary hearings they are always placed in administrative segregation which is another word for isolation. And so for a deaf person that already has problems interacting approximate approximately appropriately in society this kind of social isolation is detrimental to their process of rehabilitation. One thing that's real positive that Texas does is grouping all these people together because when they come in, some for example don't really have good language skills in ASL or English and this is an opportunity for them to learn communication and a little bit of social behaviors what people will accept from you and what they won't. Although admittedly there's a very different social atmosphere in a prison. What are some access or accommodation issues that you could think of that would be a problem for a deaf person in prison? Anybody?
>> Phone. That's a good one. A lot of times TTY's are kept in an office, locked, because they will be parted out if they are just left out, and so what the deaf person has to do is request to make a phone call. They get one phone call every 90 days I think or -- and so then they have to go and they have to get enough people on duty that one of them can go unlock the office, get the TTY, bring it, set it in an office where the deaf prisoner can be brought in and use it. And then they have to go put it all away and everything so a lot of times when a hearing person wants to make their call especially in a jail atmosphere because a lot of times they have payphones in jails. In state prisons it is a little different but in a state -- in a jail you can just make a call, collect call, in a lot of them because they just have a payphone right there in the day room. In a prison you have to ask permission and they take you to a room to use the phone. Whether you're deaf or hearing at least in Texas that's how they do it. But if the guard is busy if there's not enough people to watch, there's not enough officers then the person doesn't get to make their phone call. The interpreter there handles most of the phone calls and she works from eight to five Monday through Friday so they have one interpreter for ninety people. A. So they have a staff interpreter.
>> They have a staff interpreter. What she does every morning is she goes -- okay, 8:00, she goes to the infirmary and waits, so maybe 3 or 4 out of the 85 deaf people will show up. She interprets all the medical. Then she goes across the hall at 10:30 and waits for disciplinary. Two or three people show up for disciplinary cases. She makes her rounds. Then she has individual appointments. She's required by law to meet -- she's got a dual role. She's an interpreter and a case manager, which causes some problems. A lot of times she votes, right in front of the person. They will come in on a disciplinary hearing and there will be 3 people there, the officer, the mediator and she'll be there. All three of them will be required to vote on the prisoner's status after -- during the time she's interpreting for the person. So that is a serious problem because if you want to get inmates to work with you as an interpreter, or as a case manager, but particularly as an interpreter, it is really important that you would stay neutral because if they think you're telling them things -- if their perception is you're telling the prison things that are keeping them from getting released or getting benefits that they think they deserve or being put somewhere for punishment that they think they didn't deserve, it is going to be really hard to work with that person. And one of the things that other -- one of the things that workers there have a problem with too, some of the case managers, is the person's there, they are being punished. They want to add to that, you know, well, you shouldn't have done that, you should have thought about that before you got here, you did the crime, you got to do the time. Well, the person knows that and they are actually there to provide some kind of service, helping them connect with their families, services they need, make that transition back to the community. So that can be a barrier too attitudinally. Any other thoughts about accommodations that would be difficult for deaf and hard of hearing people in the prison environment?
>> Back to the phone one, I would think of time limitations would be a problem.
>> That's a big problem. You get about five minutes for your phone call and if you barely type and speak English and you're tapping out a phone call, then you're going to have -- they do extend it -- one problem again is attitude. Like if the person likes you, if the person giving you the phone call likes you, or if they view you as someone that that will -- that will do a favor for them or whatever, so there's different reasons why you might get a longer phone call. It is not always fair. It is not always the same for everybody. One thing in the prison environment they stress is that everything should be the same for everybody. And that's a barrier for two reasons. One, it is not true. If the guards like you, you may get privileges. Two, it is not true. Because if you're deaf, you need something different, not something -- you know, you need -- it can't all be the same. You need a different service to be able to access the information. Another problem that people have is handcuffing. The NAD has a handcuffing statement out on their web site. And they recommend that when the police arrest a deaf person, they do not handcuff them unless they are a danger to others. And so in the prison environment they also use handcuffing routinely if they are taking you from -- if you are kept in administrative segregation or isolation, and they are taking you to make a phone call or go in your hearing, you wear handcuffs and a couple ways you can get around this is you wear handcuffs until you get there then they handcuff you and let you participate. Or another instances they may handcuff you in front and let you communicate. If the person is considered dangerous or unpredictable. So that's a problem because a lot of police, jails, and other facilities don't recognize that. They do in Texas because of the many lawsuits they have had. Treatment for malting is a problem because if you go into a prison and you're deaf, or hearing, what they do is they give you a packet of alcoholics anonymous information and they say here's yourself study course. Learn this so that you'll be ready to transition back to the community. And that's a problem if you don't read well. Also they hand you a book and say learn this. This is the rules. And if you break any of these rules you get a disciplinary case and you lose privileges. Again, if you can't read. Now, one thing positive about the group of deaf people there is that they alter act and they help each other. They tell each other the rules. On the other hand, if they don't like each other they may lie about the rules or they may withhold information. So it just depends. And the group there, most of them like being -- the for example that I talked to liked being together but there was still polarization in the group. There were still problems. Not everybody liked everybody. Okay. We talked a little bit about assistive devices were this any more questions about that?
>> I have one question.
>> Do they need -- if they need hearing aids, can they get those?
>> Yes. They are allowed to have hearing aids. The question was if they need hearing aids, can they get them?
>> Yes they are allowed to have hearing aids and they are allow to trade in batteries one by one if they need them. If the hearing aid is damaged or disappears, there will be no more hearing aid. So if someone steals it and parts it out or if they part it out because they need something, then there will be no more hearing aid for the remainder of their incarceration usually. Also if they come in without a hearing aid and they need a hearing aid, they can get one. The system is set up so that it can get that medical service.
>> One more question to that. You know, hearing aids only last so many years, if it is damaged sometimes it can be something because of the hearing aid not something they did. Then if it dies, you know, do they get more or is it just like they come in and they are in there for life and they only get one and that's it and it dies in three years.
>> No, they can get another hearing aid if something legitimate happens to their hearing aid. Yeah. They have -- they use their own state medical benefits so when they go into the medical clinic, they use their medical card just like we would use -- some of us have state medical systems, like Oregon does. Arkansas where I live now does not. But Texas has some of that. And so they have to bill and they have to pay like five dollars a visit to the doctor there. Especially if they consider them to be malingering, so, but they will give them services and new hearing aids as needed yes. Okay let's talk about -- let's look at some case studies and talk a little bit about two people and that I'm going to discuss with you and see what kind of services you would think they would need and what kind of barriers they might have. Chris is a 45 year old man who is deaf. He was born deaf. He is the only deaf person in his family and he's totally estranged from his family. As a child he was mainstreamed and later he was sent to a residential school for the deaf. And he says this separation from his family going into the deaf school is the cause or beginning of his involvement with bad people and bad things. He is serving a 17 year old -- a 17 year sentence for burglary. And this is his 4th incarceration. Burglary -- a burglary is not a person to person crime. He broke into someone's home. He turned himself in -- he broke into a home and stole some electronic equipment and went down to the police station and turned himself in because he wanted to return to prison because he was hoping to get treatment for chemical dependency that he felt he could not get on the outside. He has no friends in the deaf community because his anti social behaviors cause him to be ostracized. Also the deaf community has some beliefs judged -- more judgmental beliefs rather than alcoholism as an illness, a lot of -- there's a lot more view of alcoholism as a moral weakness. So he has difficulty making friends in the deaf community. He does not have hearing friends either other than people that he uses drugs with. So what would you think are some of the services he would need to make a transition back to society? Any thoughts? Obviously he would need some drug and alcohol services. How well would he do with a packet of information? Probably not very well because he only reads at about 4th grade level. Other things that he would need -- he would need certain things during the 17 year period and I don't know exactly what the answer is about what -- you would definitely need to do it prior to his release. You would need to start putting those things in place as a case manager. Yes?
>> I think from my experience, that some people would need a connection to a local deaf services agency that provides counseling, interpreted AA program, et cetera, et cetera, already prestructured environment that he can only make that transition and eventually become more independent on his own and get counseling and training and get a job.
>> That is an excellent point. He needs to connect maybe with a deaf services agency prior to transition. That agency's going to have to be heavily involved with sorry this case management and coordinate the services. He's going to need a place to live because he's not going to be very successful if he comes out and has no place to go that's secure. He's going to need people who can communicate in sign language. And some of those things probably should be set in motion before he gets out. One of the problems that they have in Texas is a lot of the agencies that I spoke with said we don't serve child -- people who have committed crimes against children. So we will take all kinds of people coming out of prison but we will not take people who have molested children. So there's a group there that will not have any supports coming out. They will have maybe an address that they can give the prison this is where I'm going but they may not have much more support than that. So there is a need for agencies who will work with sex offenders. It is a difficult issue because people don't want to work with sex offenders. And because they are very difficult to work with. There is a perception out there that people don't recover from sex offending, but there's also not a lot that's been provided to people who are trying to recover from sex offending. And that'll be with the next guy we talk about, actually. Some other services Chris may need? Need a place to live and drug and alcohol treatment. He'll need a support of a deaf services agency with people who can sign.
>> I have a question. If he's in jail and there's one interpreter who is the case manager, is she the person that hooks him up with all these services? I mean, like when does he get the support when he is in jail to hook up to the services?
>> That's a good point, and it depends on the interpreter. The last interpreter -- I worked with two interpreters when I was doing my research, one who had worked there for 17 years, she was a co rep and she would do all that. She would help people -- she would make phone calls for them and interpret for them. They would contact families when they got to prison because some people don't know. One day the deaf person in their family was gone. They didn't know what happened to them because they couldn't make a call. They didn't know where they were. And so she would do all of those things and she would try to connect in the community. Now the next interpreter interpreted her job differently and her belief was they need to learn to make their own phone calls, they need to learn to write their own letters home and that sort of thing. So it was a different philosophy and results in a different level of service and connection with the community. And that is a problem because people need to stay connected to their family members and the community while they are incarcerated in order to make that transition. Let's move on really quickly because we're running out of time let's talk about ram Monday. Ram Monday is a 39 year old Hispanic man who was born deaf. He was raised in a family that spoke Spanish and English, but his parents were advised to only use English with him. As a young boy he was sexually abused by a coach at his school. And he very much enjoyed the attention and never considered that he was being taken advantage of. He attended a private Catholic school throughout his education, throughout high school, and in his early 20s he did learn sign language and embraced deaf culture but he was unable to complete his college coursework. Because of emotional problems, depression and drug abuse. So he really is fondly remembering his drug abuse. That helped him to be creative and let him feel like a boy again. He continued to use drugs and eventually got a job working at a residential schooling for the deaf and this is when he also began inappropriate sexual relations with students there. This is his first incarceration. Even though he is sexually molested many children. And he is serving 15 years and for indecency were a child and he's often threatened physically by the other prisoners. What would you think some of his transition services would need to be? Again you were going to want to step in before he's released out to the community and start putting all that into place, developing a rapport with him and trying to connect with the community. It is going to be difficult because as I said, some of the service agencies that work with deaf people in the area do not accept sex offenders. But it would require a lot of case management to get a place for him to live, a safe place, and some of the counseling of other services. Remember he will be in there for 15 years with no treatment until it is time to get out. They do have some sex offender treatment but you have to live on that unit and being a deaf person he's kept with the deaf people and they don't let him transfer to the other unit where he could get the sex offender treatment because they won't have interpreters for him there. So -- these are some of the barriers that he will face. And so you'll want to get him into counseling and he will probably need to be -- he will be monitored, of course, by a parole officer, but it may require more intensive monitoring than that to keep him on the right track initially. One of the problems is people relapse when they stop using drugs they relapse and they -- and when they are in abusive relationships they relapse and go back to them. When they have been living a life where they break the law to meet their needs, they may relapse. In this case this is very serious because a relapse means somebody's seriously injured perhaps. But it may not be. It may be you find pornography in his living space which is something that can get the cycle started so that is the kind of monitoring assistance that he would need. Any other thoughts on transitioning R A M O N back to society? Okay, Damara's going to speak about ways that we can get into the prison system a little bit and work with people. It is difficult but there are some approaches that we can use.
>> Wow, that was -- you did a great job. Katrina. There are four different approaches that can be used in providing services to people who are incarcerated. One is advocacy. Obviously we need more advocacy in the prison system. In general, advocacy for a prison reform is needed. There are places that are now working on what's happening in the prison system to make sure that prisoners do have more services, that rehabilitation services, transition services are provided to help people get back into the outside world. If you want to get in touch with those groups that are already set up some of them are already focusing on ADA issues as well. There's one example in Wisconsin. The council for the deaf and hard of hearing is currently counting and monitoring all prisoners who go into the system who are deaf and hard of hearing. In and they are working with state representatives and corrections officers. Just to make sure that those prisoners are receiving the services, what kind of services they are receiving, they are consulting on what sorts of services to provide to them and so forth. Advocacy work requires that they get the word out to the community about what's going on in the prison system. That's an ongoing thing, because treatment needs to be provided within the prison system -- training needs to be provided in the prison system to the corrections officers as well as outside, because there's high turnover of corrections officers. And there's a low incidence of disability. Frequently people are trained and then they leave and new people are brought in and they don't know how to provide the services to the inmates that are in there so consultation is a big part of that -- consultation is the next service. There needs to be a lot more consultation in the prison systems. This is difficult because it is a very low priority in the corrections system. There's not a lot of funding there anyway. People don't want to give money to the prison systems. So consultation to teach prison personnel on what to do is not something that is a high priority for funding people need to go in and evaluate what the needs are and what is currently being provided in the prison system and what should be provided, what adaptations need to be made. And then write reports and proposals to the people in the corrections system to get their attention. That is a method that is sometimes successful and there is an opportunity for advocacy to happen at the same time. Volunteerism is the next issue. We need more of that. We need that true -- we need that in all areas of our society, but there are not enough volunteers to go within the prison system. There are systems for social services groups to go into the prisons and provide volunteer services. For example, addiction services. Sometimes sometimes send volunteers into the prison system. There are people that teach the prisoners about HIV and AIDS. One difference is that sometimes you have to be creative in how to provide volunteer services. I wrote a grant with Trina through V O C A, voice of crime action -- I'm sorry, many of them are victims. They are themselves victims of crimes. So the victims wrote a grant to provide services for the people who are incarcerated who are also victims many people grew up victims of sexual assault or abuse and then became offenders that led to their offending behaviors and now they are in the prison population. So there is some funding that is provided to provide services to those people but frequently that's looked at as volunteerism so sometimes you have to be creative in figuring out how to provide those services. There needs to be more grant writing in general as well. You really need to be careful in developing relationships when you become a volunteer because these people who are in prison are used to people coming in and out of their lives. People are here today, gone tomorrow. And so when you are developing a relationship with a person you have to proceed slowly because the person needs to trust that you're going to continue to be there to provide the services. Similarly when you're writing grants you need to make sure that the person who is providing the services is comfortable in that environment. Frequently people are not comfortable when they go into a prison system. It is frightening, especially for the first time. Especially for women who are going into a male prison. So you really need to consider those factors before you commit yourself. There also need to be after-care. You need to continue providing services after inmates are out of prison, obviously. Prisoners need to show that they have an address after they leave the prison system. But sometimes they have to show that they have a plan that would be followed after they get out as well. Sometimes society makes people come back to prison. It is called recidivism. People who are habitual law makers. One of the reasons that this happens is there are limited services provided to these people when they get out, so they have to go back to the same system which is comfortable for them, rather than being in the outside world which is difficult and uncomfortable. Like Trina said earlier, there are many times where people have a hard time getting services in the outside world, so they go back into the prison where those are provided. So it is very important to provide prevention. There needs to be psychological and rehab services provided as well as a range of services, independent living, learning to provide food for yourself, vocational services, helping people find jobs. Often people need emotional support because they are going through major changes from being institutionalized into being out into the free world. Giving people choices is very important. In the prison system, you become institutionalized. The guards make the decisions for you. They decide what you eat, they decide what you wear. They decide where you work. Then once you get out of prison, it's paralyzing having to make those decisions for yourself. So that's an important part of the rehabilitation services, is making that transition slowly and supporting people in making choices, helping them learn how to do that. What other services can you think of that might need to be provided for people who are leaving the prison system? Especially prisoners who are deaf and hard of hearing. Are there any other considerations you can think of?
>> They might want to get into contact with somebody who can help them find job opportunities. Ability to work.
>> Yeah that's part of the employment piece. And that's where an RCD, a rehab counselor for the deaf, can get involved. It is very difficult to finds jobs for these people. Many people don't want to hire excons so it is a challenge for VR counselors. Anything else you can think of? I think that's about it, then. Trina, it is your turn. Did our little dance here.
MILLER: Okay thank you Damara. That was a good point that you made and employment services are a key piece of getting people focused, giving them something to do and keeping them busy so they stay on the right path. But it has to be holistic because there's mental health issues, and there's isolation issues from however long they were in prison and from society in general as a deaf person and there's housing issues. Where are they going to live until they get a job? And so there's a real need to look at the whole picture. I'm sure this has brought up more questions than answers but one point I really want to drive home is about the ADA and how it works in prisons. A lot of people have come up and made comments to me in the past about they are in prison. They are there to be punished. What are you writing about? What is the big deal? Well, the big deal is what limited services they have in prison, like maybe the GED class, or maybe the vocational training, are not accommodated. I mean, they don't have interpreters. They don't have reading materials that they can understand. They are left to make phone calls when they can't read or type. And so what the hearing prisoners have, what little they have, must be equal with the deaf prisoners. They must also have access to those services. And that's the point I really want to drive home towed. If you don't remember anything else about the presentation. Are there any questions?
>>In your area, I was wondering, do you have deaf people that come out of prison and later become successful? Maybe they could mentor those who are coming out? Do you have anybody like that?
MILLER: I do not, but I worked with a population in Texas for three months and I only worked with people during their incarceration. Because of confidentiality I couldn't have any contact with them beyond the study. And it is difficult to find people who have been incarcerated that want to come forth in a small community and talk about their experiences. But that's an excellent idea. And I did talk to people in the prison that wanted to do it when they got out.
: You mentioned training. Are there any programs that are being initiated to train prison staff about not just about deafness, but about disabilities in general? I mean, you take a diabetic for instance, they have to have, you know, food on a more regular basis than the ordinary person. Or any other disability. There are certain limitations where everything is not equal when you are deal with disabilities. So is there any training, rehabilitation -- training regarding disabilities going on among --
>> Not much.
>>The prison system.
MILLER: How it usually works is they have the health care people and the administrators. The administrators say okay everybody this is the new policy. They may or may not understand why that's the policy but they are to follow that policy. And with the health issues, then the health care providers will tell the officers, you know, you need to bring them back at certain timings to get their treatment or whatever they need. Or you need to have them not walk long distances. So there's not real training for the officers about disability. Not much of that. Although there needs to be and there probably has been improvement since the lawsuits that they experienced in the '60s and '70s for prisoners' rights from that area of the country.
>>It just seems very overwhelming that I might think sometimes of how hard it is to get services for people who have not been in jail and then have someone who is in jail. I really feel for the people who are there even though they have done a crime because they should have equal access. Their chances for getting what they need, then moving out into the community. But one this is more of a curiosity thing but Texas is pretty famous for how many executions they have and we have deaf being executed?
>> There was a woman who was or all deaf woman who was executed in two thousand in Texas. She was the second woman to be executed there in about a hundred years. Yeah. She was a victim of domestic violence and there was a lot of controversy about her execution. But there are no other deaf people on death row at this time.
: What kind of training do the interpreters get with minimal language skills before they go in and interpret for the client?
>> What a good question. In Texas, all they require is that you have a level 3 certification. Texas has a five-level system. You have a level three certification which is considered equal to the RID generalist certificate. So as far as specialized training in certain areas, I don't think that that's something that they consider. They have a difficult time finding interpreters who want to work in that environment.
: And I was informed from someone who lives in Texas who is an interpreter that the African American group actually has a little bit of a different sign. They have their culture has different signs that they use, so the impact they would have to be able to switch between the different cultures so I didn't know what kind of training.
>> Yeah the interpreter I worked with initially. There were two of them the one that had been there for 17 years and worked with the same group for the entire time said that some of the African American prisoners were using a dialect and she was a CODA. She was able to communicate with them well. So he she just happened to have that life experience. I thought you were raising your hand. Any more questions?
: The statistics that you used at the beginning of your presentation, the bar graphs, I assume, are they based on the case studies -- just taken literally from the case studies that you looked at? And do you feel that they are exaggerated at all? For example, I think the assault, it was a big difference in the assault. I mean, and your experience in the general population with deaf people. They are not a violent people. But perhaps they are taken advantage of because of their disability. Number one. They lack the appropriate representation, legal representation, interpreter services. I mean the whole process, the legal process, is perhaps just totally lacking in how to accommodate a person with that type of disability. I just have a hard time accepting the accuracy -- and I'm not questioning your studies, understand, but I'm just saying the process in how we arrive at those statistics, they seem extremely exaggerated to me.
>> That's a good point. I'm glad you brought it up because I don't like having to report it either. But it is there from what I found and I have been around and around with it, you know. And you brought up some good points that I forgot to mention and that is there is a difference in how people are treated by the justice system based on their color, their disability, their communication ability. When you think about a person who offends children, often they are smooth talkers, they get along well, they follow the rules. But then you have a deaf person. How well can they smooth-talk the judge? How can they appear like they are interested in rehabilitation with a communication barrier? Especially if they are not provided with accommodation in the courtroom, which the people that I talked to about 20 percent of them said they did not have an interpreter in court -- I'm sorry, about eighty percent -- yeah about 20 percent did not have an interpreter in court. About eighty percent did not have an interpreter at arrest. So there very much is a disparity in the way people are treated. And some people believe that more deaf people get off of their crimes because the police don't want to write the report and deal with it and get an interpreter. Other people believe maybe they are harsher for various reasons. So that's a good point. The difference I found was 49 percent hearing had committed violent crimes and 69 percent of deaf people. So it was a significant difference. I don't know that it was a really great difference. So -- and also, how the prison reports their violent crimes, I tried to very carefully depo through and do what they were doing in my -- but there may be some difference there on what they have classified as violent in terms of what I saw as a violent crime when I was doing my studies. So good points that you brought out. Any other questions? I think we're running out of time. One more question.
: Did you do any research to find out if there were children of deaf parents or children of hearing parents?
>> I did ask that question. And there was a very small percentage -- probably 5 percent that said they had deaf parents. And this was self reporting. So we have to take it all with a grain of salt on a lot of this stuff. So, thank you very much. And there are some handouts for all of you.
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