Judge Orders Relief for Deaf California Prisoners

California must start providing deaf prisoners in solitary confinement with sign-language interpreters, a federal judge ruled, noting inmates there are 33 percent more likely to kill themselves.

The state’s obligations stem from a series of orders between 1996 and 2002 in which the Northern District of California found that that disabled prisoners were enduring violations of the American with Disabilities Act and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Sign language interpreters must be present in the solitary unit when technicians evaluate the mental health status of inmates, according to the ruling.

by Philip Janquart, Courthouse News Service

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