Equal and Effective Communication is Guaranteed by the ADA

CREEC and 17 other civil rights organizations file amicus brief supporting the right to effective communication The day after Christmas, 2013, Stanley Cropp was wrongfully arrested (based on his confused response to police) and taken to the Larimer County Jail. There it was determined he could be released on bond, but would have to sign the legal documents necessary to make that happen. Because he has Alzheimer’s, he did not understand the documents, so his wife, Catherine Cropp, asked to sit with him and explain them. Larimer County said no. Its policy was to require family members to meet with detainees in a “non-contact” booth, separated by a glass partition, and requiring the conversation to take place through a telephone. Mrs. Cropp explained that, based on her experience with Mr. Cropp’s condition, this would not permit him to understand what he needed to sign. The County was adamant: absolutely no accommodation would be made for Mr. Cropp’s disability. This occurred despite the fact that the County knew Mr. Cropp could not understand its complex legal paperwork without assistance, and despite the fact that the County regularly permitted attorneys to meet directly with detainees, no glass partition required. The Cropps challenged Larimer County’s refusal under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which requires public entities such as Larimer County to provide effective communication with disabled people and – crucially – to defer to the requests of such individuals concerning the mode of communication. The Cropps lost before the district court, and that decision was affirmed by the Tenth Circuit last month in a 2-1 decision. The majority incorrectly deferred to the...

Increasing Accessibility City by City – Curb Ramps

Millions of Americans with mobility disabilities regularly use sidewalks to travel from home to work, school, the store, performance venues, sports stadiums, to visit family, or to access community gathering spaces. And yet, the corners of many city sidewalks across our country remain inaccessible, denying an entire group of people the right to move safely and freely from place to place. CREEC’s Accessibility Project has taken action to improve curb ramps in a number of cities across the U.S. and has plans to address even more missing or inaccessible curb ramps in the coming years, making sure that city curb ramp programs comply with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (RA) as well as any similar state and local laws.  In addition to ensuring that people with mobility disabilities can move freely about their communities, accessible curb ramps benefit others, including blind people, senior citizens, and people pushing strollers or pulling suitcases. Accessibility is a win-win for cities, for people with disabilities, and for people without disabilities.  Check out this video about installation activities in Portland, Oregon. Despite the ADA’s nearly 30-year history, curb ramp accessibility issues abound across the country.  Common barriers include sidewalk corners with missing ramps; non-noncompliant ramp slope, surfaces or widths; and failure by cities to appropriately plan for remediation and installation of curb ramps.  These barriers prevent people with disabilities from moving freely about cities where they live, work, or visit and can make navigating a city dangerous by, for example, leaving people with disabilities with no choice but to travel in the street. Once CREEC...

CREEC Receives Two-Year Grant from the Ford Foundation

Grant Will Support Work of CREEC’s Immigration Detention Accountability Project (IDAP) The Ford Foundation has awarded CREEC a $150,000 grant, distributed over a two-year time period to support IDAP’s work. Established in 2018 CREEC’s Immigration Detention Accountability Project (IDAP) believes that current immigration detention practices are inherently constitutionally suspect and inappropriate for the vast majority of non-citizens awaiting resolution of their immigration status. As long as detention continues to be sanctioned by the courts and Congress, IDAP will fight to ensure that people in ICE custody are held in constitutionally adequate conditions, receive constitutionally adequate medical and mental health care, and are not discriminated against on the basis of disability. Recent IDAP work toward this end includes filing a systemic class action lawsuit, Fraihat v. ICE – challenging ICE’s failure to ensure adequate conditions related to medical, mental health, and disability; successfully challenging conditions at a federal prison in Victorville, CA; representation of individual detained immigrants; providing assistance to other immigration advocates through presentations, workshops, and educational materials on the rights of detained immigrants with disabilities. Elizabeth Jordan, Director of the Immigration Detention Accountability Project, states, “The generous grant we received from the Ford Foundation will help IDAP maximize our impact by reaching as many people in ICE’s jails and prisons with medical, mental health, and disability needs as possible. We are grateful to the Ford Foundation for their support of CREEC while we fight to ensure that the civil and human rights of all people are met.” The Ford Foundation invests in institutions, ideas, and individuals to fight the drivers of inequality in our society. Identifying seven interconnected...