Rights of Inmates with Disabilities

INMATES WITH DISABILITIES: KNOW YOUR RIGHTS


Jails and Prisons MUST NOT:

  • discriminate against inmates because of their disability
  • discriminate against an inmate’s friends or family because of the inmate’s disability
  • discriminate against an inmate’s friends or family members who have a disability

Jails and Prisons MUST: 

  • give disabled inmates equal access to programs, services, and benefits
    • Exception: if the inmate’s participation would be a significant health or safety risk or a direct threat to others
  • make reasonable changes, accommodations, or modifications when necessary to give equal access to disabled inmates
    • Exception: if the change is a fundamental alteration or undue burden
  • provide effective communication to disabled inmates including necessary auxiliary aids and services such as
Sign language interpreters Videophones
Braille documents

Captioned video and TV

Audio documents

Explanations of documents


Examples of Discrimination against Disabled Inmates

Inmates with Hearing or Vision Disabilities

  • No sign language interpreter for medical appointments
  • Grievance information only in written English
  • No videophones provided
  • Greater access to telephones than videophones
  • No large print or Braille information
  • No visual fire and emergency alarms
  • No closed captions on TVs

 

Inmates with Mobility Disabilities

  • Housing all wheelchair users in a medical unit
  • Classes only in an inaccessible building
  • No way for wheelchair users to exercise
  • No accessible showers or toilets
  • Taking away a wheelchair as a penalty
  • No additional time for travel between locations

 

Inmates with Psychiatric Disabilities

  • Penalties without treatment for behaviors
  • No access to prescribed medications

 

Inmates with Other Disabilities

  • No diabetes or allergy diets
  • No treatment for HIV or Hepatitis C
  • No reminders for inmates with dementia

 

These are only examples.  Disability discrimination can happen in many ways.

 

If you or someone you know is being discriminated against in jail or prison, contact CREEC at info@creeclaw.org or 303.757.7901 for possible help.


Download the PDF version of “INMATES WITH DISABILITIES: KNOW YOUR RIGHTS” here.