Joe’s blog – #89 – Enforcement of rights for the disabled at Deerfield C.C.

I apologize for my absence. Life at Deerfield has been a bit stressful for me these past few weeks. Due to that I have just been focusing on working with my new leg.
I do want to give an update re Deerfield’s Administrations willful non-compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Deerfields ADA Review Committee in conjunction with the DOC’s statewide ADA coordinator have decided that all visually impaired prisoners, no matter the type of eye disease they suffer or their different level of impairment, will only be able to purchase the same exact TV even though it will not meet their individual impairment needs. In fact, the specific TV approved lacks even the most basic vision impaired modes and functions. At least in one instance I know of, Righteous Shabazz who I have mentioned in previous blogs, the TV in question will only work to exacerbate his specific eye disease.
Aside from the fact that there is no one size fits all TV when it comes to the vision and, hearing, impaired the DOC’s Statewide ADA Coordinator knows without a doubt of a TV that is available from Samsung that provides an array of specialized functions specifically designed to meet the needs of most, though not all, the problems encountered by the aforementioned disabled. I know this because I have a copy of a DOC approved catalog that was put together by that very coordinator. Moreover, I know of at least 3 prisoners here at Deerfield who have that very same TV (and know that there are others at Greensville C..C. who have been authorized to have the same). Mr. Shabazz himself has viewed that TV and was amazed at how utilizing the various functions helped to relieve the symptoms he experiences due to his eye disease, i.e., normal pressure glaucoma.
So, not only is the ADA Coordinator and, the Deerfield ADA committee, being disingenuous when they claim ignorance, they have now willfully made the decision to discriminate amongst the disabled – an action that violates the ADA in and of itself.
Another interesting aspect is the price attached to the one size fits all TV that has recently been approved: $230.00 for a 15 inch flat screen. That is well over a 100% mark up (interestingly enough the Samsung TV, with all its specialized vision/hearing impaired modes can be had for about $140.00). So not only are the after mentioned officials discriminating amongst the disabled, they are allowing their private commissary contractor Keefe Corp. to price gouge the disabled: itself a violation of the ADA.
These lasts actions, along with several others, e.g., denying the disabled meaningful/adequate access to the grievance process; subjecting the disabled to disciplinary actions for violations that occurred due to their disability; denying the disabled meaningful/adequate access to programs and services; denial of reasonable accommodations; and, subjecting them to subtle threats for seeking to secure their rights under the ADA, have driven me to the conclusion that the officials in question do not take the Americans with Disabilities Act seriously, and that it is their intent to erect any/all obstacles they can so that they can avoid their legal obligations.
That being the case and, after reviewing the extensive record that has been made by some of the disabled here at Deerfield; and, after having made numerous good faith efforts to resolve these matters with the Warden (and her appointed minions), I have recommended to two attorneys (who I assist as a paralegal at their request & under their supervision), that they take the case forward and file suit with the appropriate federal court to seek enforcement of rights for the disabled at Deerfield C.C.
Peace, Joe G.
Deerfield. 1/12/17

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