More News from HEARD

English: Washington County county jail.
Washington County county jail. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We wanted to let you all know a group of RIT students is working on an independent study project that focuses on Deaf Defendant/Prisoner Rights at the county jail and local prisons.  This project is being led by Attorney-Professors Michael Stein & Jennifer Gravitz.

The group will focus on finding and documenting info on deaf prisoners to assist with HEARD Deaf/Deaf-Blind Prisoner database building; working with the county jail to establish better ADA enforcement policies; assisting with VP issues (the jail there has one, but they say it can only be used to contact the public defender “bc of technical issues”); and translating policies & procedures into ASL, among other things. HEARD will use information from the students’ and professors’ experiences to inform our advocacy across the nation. As far as we know, this is the only class of its kind in the nation.  
Here’s one that’s near and dear to my heart. Middlesex County Courthouse and it’s jail as seen from the front. The jail is near the top of the tower. Image credit:

We are super-excited about this amazing project, & thank Michael & Jennifer for making it a reality.  We hope to see similar projects popping up at universities across the country!!!!  If you have any connections at universities, please share our information with them.

The following came from the HEARD Web site:

HEARD’s mission is to identify and remove barriers that prevent the deaf from participating in and having equal access to the justice system by enhancing the competence, capacity, and capability of justice professionals to manage language access and ability rights issues; and to empower the Deaf Community through education and advocacy.

HEARD’s vision is to create a universally accessible American justice system that equitably serves the people with hearing loss.

HEARD facilitates collaboration among deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing individuals because HEARD views access to the justice system as a fundamental human right that we all should be working to make a reality.

8 thoughts on “More News from HEARD

  1. This work of RIT students looks wonderful. Contact Deaf Studies/Deaf education dept at Lamar as we are doing similar work gathering articles on deaf prisoners, criminal justice issues etc. and attempting to put together a textbook for deaf education programs on these materials.


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