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Florida Settlement for Prisoners with Disabilities

Last year, Disability Rights Florida filed a lawsuit against the state of Florida for discriminating against more than 30 prisoners with disabilities.


The lawsuit stated several issues with the way Deaf prisoners were treated. They had to wait several years for their hearing aids to be repaired or replaced, and were not provided sign language interpreters for critical events such as medical appointments. In fact, some Deaf inmates were forced to serve as interpreters for other Deaf prisoners. Accessible phones were often broken or unavailable. And Deaf prisoners couldn't hear announcements, which resulted in them often missing mealtimes.


The prisons also failed to maintain wheelchairs for inmates, denying minimal necessities to those who need them.


After 5 months of mediation, they have officially reached a 328-page settlement agreement. The state has 4 years to add resources for inmates and make their facilities more accessible. This includes providing interpreters for Deaf prisoners and removing barriers for inmates who use wheelchairs.

The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) released a statement saying they're "glad they reached an agreement, and will continue working to ensure facilities are within federal ADA compliance."


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