Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-03-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Landmark Settlement in Class Action Will Accommodate Deaf Prisoners
From a news release
2018-07-25

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Chicago ( July 25, 2018 ) - A groundbreaking settlement has been reached in a class action that will fundamentally improve the lives of Illinois prisoners who are deaf and hard of hearing. The class action was filed May 4, 2011 and alleged, among other things, that the Illinois Department of Corrections ( IDOC ) systematically failed to provide American Sign Language interpreters and other alternate forms of communication. Without these accommodations, deaf and hard of hearing prisoners have been endangered and deprived of meaningful access to religious services, healthcare, educational and vocational programs, telephones, televisions, library services, disciplinary proceedings, grievances, and pre-release programs.

A fairness hearing, in which a judge must find that a class action settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate, will be held in Chicago tomorrow, July 26 at 10:30 before the Honorable Judge Marvin E. Aspen, 219 S. Dearborn Street, Courtroom 2568.

The lawsuit was filed by the law firm Winston & Strawn LLP, serving as lead counsel and providing representation on a pro bono basis; two Illinois non-profit legal advocacy organizations, Equip for Equality and Uptown People's Law Center; and the National Association of the Deaf.

Terms under the far-reaching settlement include:

Hearing Tests: IDOC will provide enhanced screening to identify which prisoners are deaf and hard of hearing.

Communication Specialists. IDOC will use specialists to test the communication skills of deaf and hard of hearing prisoners, identify necessary accommodations and develop a communication plan.

Hearing Aids: IDOC will provide hearing aids when recommended by an audiologist and provide timely replacement batteries and repairs.

Sign Language Interpreters: For prisoners who communicate in American Sign Language ( ASL ), IDOC will provide sign language interpreters for important programs.

Video Phones, TTYs, and Amplified Phones: Every Illinois prison with a deaf or hard of hearing prisoner must have at least one videophone, two TTYs, and two amplified telephones.

Communication Alerts: Every Illinois prison that has a deaf or hard of hearing prisoner must have a safe way to provide accessible notifications about fires, emergencies, evacuations, meals, showers, yard time, doctor or counselor appointments, and visitors.

VRI: Illinois prisons must provide Video Remote Interpreting ( VRI ) for doctor appointments when no sign language interpreter can come to the prison for doctor appointments.

"It is fitting that the fairness hearing will take place on the anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act," said Barry C. Taylor, vice president for Civil Rights and Systemic Litigation, Equip for Equality. "One of the tenets of the ADA is to provide effective communication for people with disabilities. This settlement agreement will go a long way to ensure that the ADA's promise becomes a reality for deaf and hard of hearing prisoners."

"Our goal in this case was to ensure that significant steps would be taken within IDOC to enable deaf and hard of hearing prisoners in Illinois to communicate effectively while in IDOC custody," said Robert Michels, a partner with Winston & Strawn. "Allowing deaf and hard of hearing prisoners to communicate effectively is critically important for a variety of reasons, including so that they are safe, they are able receive proper medical care, they are able to participate in the programs and services available to them while in custody, and they are not treated unfairly as a result of their hearing impairment. We are glad that this settlement today allows substantial improvements to be made within IDOC that, if properly implemented, should result in achieving our goal."

"Being in prison is an awful experience for anyone; being in prison when you can't hear is terrifying. This settlement, when fully implemented, ensures that no one will ever be left alone in silence in Illinois prisons. These changes are vital—the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to everyone in the United States, including people in prison," said Alan Mills, executive director of Uptown People's Law Center.

"On the 28th anniversary of the ADA and 45 years after passage of the Rehabilitation Act, this fairness hearing is one step closer to ensuring that deaf and hard of hearing people in Illinois prisons have equal rights, particularly for communication and telecommunication purposes," said Howard A., Rosenblum, CEO of the National Association of the Deaf. "Although such basic rights are overdue, there should be no further delay to ensuring that deaf and hard of hearing prisoners have equal access to calling their families and lawyers, and to being able to communicate with prison staff for all programs and services."

Reference: U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois

Holmes et al. v. Godinez et al. 11 C 2961

Organizations representing the plaintiffs:

Winston & Strawn LLP is an international law firm with nearly 1,000 attorneys among 16 offices across North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Formed in 1853, the firm not only represents Fortune 500 companies and other clients on major business-related matters, it also has a strong commitment to providing pro bono representation, including in matters involving civil rights, community economic development, criminal defense, First Amendment/free speech, contested guardianship, landlord/tenant, not-for-profit corporate organization, political asylum, post-conviction relief in death penalty cases, and public assistance.

Equip for Equality is a private, not-for-profit entity designated in 1985 by the Governor of Illinois to administer the federally mandated protection and advocacy system for safeguarding the rights of people with physical and mental disabilities in Illinois.

Uptown People's Law Center is a nonprofit legal services organization specializing in prisoners' rights, Social Security disability, and tenants' rights and eviction defense. UPLC currently has seven class action lawsuits regarding jail and prison conditions.

National Association of the Deaf, established in 1880, is the nation's premier organization safeguarding the civil, human and linguistics rights of deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the USA.


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

NATIONAL Couples' eviction, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, dancer sentenced 2019-03-20 - A lesbian couple filed a complaint against the transitional housing facility they once called home after they were forced out, LGBTQ Nation reported. ...


Gay News

WORLD Irish PM, landmark Canadian ruling, Brazilian murder suspects 2019-03-20 - The openly gay prime minister of Ireland had breakfast with Mike Pence—and he made some pointed comments about accepting others, LGBTQ Nation reported. ...


Gay News

Supreme Ct. rejects anti-gay B&B's appeal 2019-03-19 - On March 18, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of Phyllis Young—who runs the three-room Aloha Bed & Breakfast in ...


Gay News

Bon Foster gala April 18 2019-03-17 - The Bon Foster gala—Lambda Legal's annual civil-rights celebration—will take place Thursday, April 18, 6-10 p.m., at Morgan Manufacturing, 401 N. Morgan St. There ...


Gay News

Smollett pleads not guilty 2019-03-14 - Embattled actor Jussie Smollett, who is African-American and openly gay, pled not guilty in Cook County court March 14 regarding 16 counts of ...


Gay News

Equality Act introduced in U.S. Congress 2019-03-13 - On March 13, Democrats reintroduced the pro-LGBT measure known as the Equality Act in the U.S. House, The Washington Blade reported. Rep. David ...


Gay News

BB gun shot at A'ville Starbucks 2019-03-13 - Several people were taken to the hospital after a "female offender" opened fire with a BB gun at the Starbucks at 5300 N. ...


Gay News

LGBTQ inclusive curriculum bill passes Illinois House 2019-03-13 - SPRINGFIELD — Students in Illinois public schools would learn about the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in Illinois and U.S. ...


Gay News

Cardinal sentenced in child sex-abuse case 2019-03-13 - Cardinal George Pell, 77—the most senior Catholic cleric ever to be convicted of child sex abuse—was sentenced to six years in prison in ...


Gay News

UIC honors scholar Phoenix Matthews 2019-03-13 - Shortly before they accepted the University of Illinois at Chicago ( UIC ) College of Nursing 2018 Distinguished Researcher Award, scholar/researcher Phoenix Matthews ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.