Prompted by complaints that the needs of deaf, blind, and wheelchair-bound inmates are being routinely ignored, lawyers for a group of prisoners filed suit against the Florida Department of Corrections on Tuesday, claiming a litany of abuses.
The lawsuit, filed by the Florida Justice Institute on behalf of Disability Rights Florida, includes accounts from 32 prisoners of being denied hearing aids, wheelchairs, or other devices in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal laws.
In some cases, deaf inmates reported having to communicate with prison staff via hand-written notes because the prisons didn’t provide a capable sign language interpreter.
In other instances, the Department of Corrections confiscated prisoners’ prosthetic limbs upon arrival.
“There are hundreds—if not thousands—of people with physical disabilities who are incarcerated in Florida,” Randall C. Berg, Jr., executive director of the Florida Justice Institute, said in a prepared statement.