Book Review of Katrina Miller’s (2005) book: Deaf Culture Behind Bars: Signs and Stories of a Texas Population. Published by AGO Publications

Unfortunately, this book is out of print but perhaps is available through a library.  After I visited a county jail and a state prison and met with two deaf inmates, I reread Dr. Katrina Miller’s book and found it most relevant and informative so I am submitting a book review for deafinprison readers.

Katrina R. Miller.  (2003) Deaf Culture Behind Bars: Signs and Stories of a Texas Population.  Salem, OR: AGO Publications.  https://www.agostore.com

The jail and prison environment is an isolating and cruel existence for the culturally Deaf as well as hard of hearing inmates because of lack of access to communication, services and programming with correctional officers and fellow inmates. Dr. Katrina Miller’s pages spill out compelling life stories of Deaf inmates who find themselves behind bars and without services that are typically given to hearing inmates.  Written for sign language interpreters, social workers, police, correctional officers and the Deaf Community, Dr. Miller’s book will be informative to attorneys working on cases involving Deaf clients who are in jail or prison. Dr. Miller’s book is based on her doctoral dissertation published in 2001 where she described the background and crimes of 99 deaf inmates in the Estelle Unit in Huntsville State Prison in Huntsville Texas. (Forensic Issues of Deaf Offenders, Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas). Much of the book includes many interviews Dr. Miller conducted with the Deaf inmates. Dr. Miller provides statistics on the kinds of crimes Deaf inmates committed as well as information on services they need and barriers they face in the prison environment.  There is also a section on deaf signs used in prison that are linguistically different than signs used outside the prison walls. The book presents many interviews of deaf inmates and the reader can learn from the inmates “first-hand” how it feels to be Deaf and in prison—all of which riveted this reader to the page.

2 thoughts on “Book Review of Katrina Miller’s (2005) book: Deaf Culture Behind Bars: Signs and Stories of a Texas Population. Published by AGO Publications

  1. Sounds like a fascinating book. Although out of print, it’s probably still available. I’ll see if I can’t find a link to post. Thanks for this review.

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