Your Money or Your Life

By Joanne Greenberg

Activism usually means my telling someone what to do for someone else, and it generally involves the transfer of money from one group to another.  The prison system here is fund-starved, but our idea, the one about grouping deaf prisoners together, isn’t costly at all.

Once deaf prisoners in a state system are brought together, all manner of help is available to them. Professional and volunteer attention is much more easily  enlisted for various kinds of help, at no cost to the facility.  Every State has an Association of the deaf. Every State has interest groups which can be enlisted in the work of communication and the improvement of conditions in the prisons.

There are prison writing groups and groups providing religious services and ceremonial items, books etc.   Deaf organizations find visits too difficult and time consuming when those being visited are scattered through the buildings in a facility, or in different prisons in the State.

As things stand now, deaf prisoners are not helped by programs made for hearing prisoners — writing programs, GED Etc. Housing deaf prisoners in one place costs no more and is of great benefit, even involving discipline and control.

Joanne Greenberg was born in 1932, in Brooklyn, NY. She was educated at American University and received and honorary Doctorate from Gallaudet University – the world’s only college for the Deaf. She has written 2 books on the subject and has spent decades working with state mental hospitals for appropriate care for the mentally ill Deaf.

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