Department of Justice Complaint # 204-11-290
Department of Justice Press Release
1. It is the intent of the United States Department of Justice (“the United States” or “the Department”) and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (“Sheriff’) (collectively, “Parties”) that this Settlement Agreement shall resolve all issues associated with the provision of effective communication with persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind so that they may participate in or benefit from the services, programs, or activities of the Sheriff on an equal basis with other individuals, including but not limited to arrestees, detainees, suspects, victims, witnesses, complainants, and visitors at Santa Rita Jail (“SRJ”) and Glenn E. Dyer Jail (“GDJ”) (collectively “detention facilities”). This Agreement establishes the Sheriff’s obligations to provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services whenever necessary to ensure effective communications with qualified individuals with a disability at SRJ and GDJ detention facilities, including inmates, visitors, and members of the public with disabilities.
2. This Settlement Agreement originated with a complaint lodged with the United States against the Sheriff. The complaint alleged that the Sheriff violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134, and the Department’s regulation implementing Title II, 28 C.F.R. Part 35, by denying effective communication with a qualified individual with a disability. In his complaint, Mr. Bonner, who is deaf and blind, alleged that the Sheriff failed to provide him with a tactile interpreter when necessary to ensure effective communication with him when he was arrested and during his two day incarceration at SRJ. Mr. Bonner was released from SRJ after the charges against him were dropped.
3. The U.S. Attorney General is authorized under 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F, to investigate Mr. Bonner’s complaint allegations and to determine whether the Sheriff complied with Title II of the ADA and the Title II regulation. The United States is also authorized to issue findings, and, where appropriate, to negotiate and secure voluntary compliance agreements. Furthermore, the Attorney General is authorized under 42 U.S.C. § 12133 to bring a civil action enforcing Title II of the ADA should the Department of Justice fail to secure voluntary compliance pursuant to subpart F. In consideration of the terms of this Agreement, as set forth below, the Attorney General agrees to refrain from undertaking further investigation or from filing a civil suit in this matter, except as provided in paragraph 23.
4. The ADA applies to the Sheriff because it is a “public entity” pursuant to Title II of the ADA. 42 U.S.C. § 12131. Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability in the “services, programs, or activities of a public entity.” 42 U.S.C. § 12132.
5. The United States investigated the complaint and found the allegations to be substantiated. While the Sheriff alleges that the Office made a good faith effort to accommodate Mr. Bonner, a tactile interpreter was never provided to Mr. Bonner during his incarceration when it was necessary to achieve effective communication with him. Further, Mr. Bonner was secluded in the Out-Patient Housing Unit area of SRJ for the duration of his incarceration. This seclusion was allegedly due to concerns over his personal safety if released into the general population and because the Sheriff was unable to communicate with him. Since Mr. Bonner’s detention at SRJ, the Sheriff alleges that the Office has been proactive in addressing these issues.
6. The parties to this Settlement Agreement ("Agreement") are the United States of America and the Sheriff.
7. The Parties have determined that this complaint can be resolved without further enforcement action or litigation. In order to avoid the time and expense of litigation and in order to continue its efforts to comply fully with the ADA, the Sheriff agrees to enter into this Agreement.
8. Auxiliary aids and services shall include qualified interpreters, note takers, transcription services, written materials, assistive listening devices, assistive listening systems, or other effective methods of making aurally delivered materials available to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
9. Hearing Aid-Compatible Telephones shall mean telephones that provide internal means (i.e., without the use of external devices) for effective use with hearing aids that are designed to be compatible with telephones meeting the Federal Communications Commission’s technical standard for hearing aid compatibility (the technical standard is codified at 47 C.F.R. § 68.316). This is usually accomplished by inserting a telecoil in telephones that detects, or is compatible with, a similar telecoil in the hearing aid, and thus allows the hearing aid to “couple” with the telephone through an electromagnetic field.
10. Qualified Interpreters shall include “sign language interpreters,” “oral interpreters," or other "interpreters" who are able to interpret competently, accurately, and impartially, both receptively and expressively, using any specialized terminology necessary for effective communication with an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing or who has a speech impairment, given that individual’s language skills and education. Not all interpreters are qualified for all situations. For example, an interpreter who is qualified to interpret using American Sign Language (ASL) is not necessarily qualified to interpret orally. Also, someone who has only a rudimentary familiarity with sign language or finger spelling is not a "qualified sign language interpreter." Likewise, someone who is fluent in sign language but who does not possess the ability to process spoken communication into the proper signs or to observe someone signing and translate their signed or finger-spelled communication into spoken words is not a qualified sign language interpreter. 28 C.F.R. § 35.104.
11. Primary consideration shall mean that the Sheriff will honor the choice expressed by the individual with a disability unless it can demonstrate:
* that another equally effective means of communication is available;
* that the preferred auxiliary aid or service would fundamentally alter the service, program, or activity; or
* that use of the means chosen would result in undue financial or administrative burdens.
See 28 C.F.R. § 35.164.
The Sheriff agrees not to engage in any act or practice, directly or through contracting, licensing, or other arrangements, that has the purpose or effect of unlawfully discriminating against any person with a disability in violation of Title II of the ADA. Unless otherwise indicated, within thirty (30) days after the effective date of this Agreement, the Sheriff agrees to implement fully the practices and policies set forth below.
13. Provision of Auxiliary Aids and Services.
The Sheriff will ensure that appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified interpreters, and specifically tactile interpreters, are made available to all individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind, where such aids and services are necessary to ensure effective communication with them, so that they may participate in or benefit from the services, programs, or activities of the Sheriff on an equal basis with other individuals, including but not limited to detainees of the same security classification, arrestees, suspects, victims, complainants, witnesses, and visitors. For unscheduled matters involving nondetainees, the Sheriff will use its best efforts to provide qualified interpreting services and without exception when given at least 72 hours advance notice of the request (oral or written) for such services. If the Sheriff does not provide interpreting services within 72 hours of receipt of request, the Sheriff must notify the Department in writing.
14. Type of Auxiliary Aid or Service.
In determining what type of auxiliary aid or service is necessary to comply with the ADA, the Sheriff agrees to give primary consideration to the requests of the individual who is deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind. 28 C.F.R. § 35.160. The decision that a particular request for auxiliary aids and services would result in a fundamental alteration of the Sheriff’s programs and services or in undue financial and administrative burdens must be made by the Sheriff or his or her designee after considering all of the resources available for use in the funding and operation of the Sheriff’s programs and services and must be accompanied by a written statement of the reasons for reaching that conclusion. See 28 C.F.R. § 35.164.
15. Use of Interpreting Service Agency(ies).
Within ninety (90) days of the effective date of the Agreement, the Sheriff agrees:
a) To form and maintain working relationships with one or more qualified oral/sign language interpreter agencies to ensure that interpreting services will be available on a priority basis, twenty-four hours per day, seven days a week;
b) In the alternative, to make other appropriate arrangements such as contracting directly with or hiring qualified interpreters on a fee for service basis;
c) To provide the United States with documentation that such interpreter services are being made available;
d) To maintain a list of interpreting service agencies that provide tactile interpreting services in the Bay Area. The Sheriff will update that list annually; and
e) To record all oral/written requests it receives for oral/sign language interpreters and any action taken or denial of services. That record shall be provided to the Department for review of compliance with this Agreement upon request by the Department and in annual compliance reports as required in Paragraph 22, below.
16. Posting Signs.
a) The Sheriff will post conspicuous signs in the public area visible to individuals with disabilities advising them of the availability of appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified interpreters, as follows:
To ensure effective communication with individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind, the Sheriff will provide auxiliary aids, such as note and pen, TTYs, or sign language, oral or tactile interpreters, free of charge. For unscheduled matters involving nondetainees, the Sheriff will use its best efforts to provide qualified interpreting services and without exception when given at least 72 hours advance notice of the request (oral or written) for such services.
Please ask your deputy or other Sheriff’s personnel for assistance, or contact the staff at Control Point 11 reception (925) 551-6500.
b) The signs will be posted within ninety (90) days of the effective date of this Agreement. The Sheriff will ensure that each facility post this notice in the lobby or reception area of each facility, and in the detention areas, along with the international symbol of accessibility. See 28 C.F.R. § 35.163.
a. Within ninety (90) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the Sheriff agrees to provide, if it has not already done so, at least one TTY for use by the staff, public, or detained persons at every detention facility.
b. Where telephones are available to the public, a TTY will be made available to visitors upon request. See 28 C.F.R. § 35.161. Signage will be displayed at all public telephones areas indicating the availability of the TTY and the procedure for obtaining it.
c. Where inmate telephone calls are time-limited, the Sheriff will adopt policies providing inmates who use TTYs reasonable additional time to make those calls, due to the slower nature of TTY communications compared with voice communications.
d. If a TTY is not available in the same location as telephones used by detainees who are not deaf or hard of hearing, detainees who use a TTY will be allocated reasonable additional time to walk to and from the TTY location.
e. The Sheriff will ensure that the privacy of telephone calls by detainees using a TTY is equal to that of other detainees’ telephone calls.
18. Hearing Aid-Compatible Telephones.
a. Within ninety (90) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the Sheriff agrees to provide, if it has not already done so, at least one telephone that is hearing aid-compatible for use by the staff, public, or detained persons at every detention facility.
b. If a hearing aid-compatible telephone is not available in the same location as telephones used by detainees who are not deaf or hard of hearing, detainees who use hearing aid-compatible telephones will be allocated reasonable additional time to walk to and from the hearing aid-compatible telephone location.
19. Out Patient Housing Unit.
In the event of medical evaluation or treatment, and upon request by an individual who is deaf, hard of hearing or deaf/blind, the Sheriff shall immediately obtain interpreter services, no later than ninety (90) minutes after the facility is on notice that the request is made. The foregoing response times are subject to “force majeure” events - i.e., any response time that is delayed because of a force majeure event is excluded from the determination whether the prescribed response criteria have been met. Force majeure events are events outside the reasonable control of the Sheriff, the interpreting service agency, or the interpreter called to respond, such as weather problems, other Acts of God, unanticipated illness or injury of the interpreter while en route to the Sheriff, and unanticipated transportation problems (including, without limitation, mechanical failure of the interpreter’s automobile, automobile accidents and roadway obstructions other than routine traffic or congestion).
20. Effective Communication Policies and Procedures.
Within sixty (60) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the Sheriff will revise and coordinate specific procedures to implement fully the Settlement Agreement, including the policies attached as Exhibits 1 and 2 to this Agreement.
a. Within twelve (12) months, and at least once annually throughout the term of this Agreement, the Sheriff will train its deputies as to effective communication with persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind. Deputies will further be trained in the logistics of obtaining oral, sign language or tactile interpreters with whom the Sheriff has pre-existing arrangements or relationships.
b. The Sheriff will develop an ADA/Section 504 training curriculum encompassing the policies and practices described in this Agreement for all of the Sheriff’s staff who provide services offered by the Sheriff to the public. This training will include the following objectives:
1) To inform deputies of their legal obligations to provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind;
2) To conduct communication assessments promptly; and
3) To secure appropriate auxiliary aids and services as quickly as reasonably possible when necessary.
c. The Sheriff will begin conducting training sessions for deputies within ninety (90) days of the effective date of this Agreement and will conclude the training sessions within twelve (12) months of the effective date of this Agreement.
d. The Sheriff will ensure that all new deputies who will have contact with the public will receive the training as a component of pre-service training and orientation. Current sworn staff will receive the training as a component of regular in-service education.
22. Annual Reports; Compliance Review.
The Sheriff will report annually, by January 30th of each year to the Department as to the Sheriff’s compliance with this Agreement, and the Department may review compliance with this Agreement at any time and may enforce this Agreement if the Department believes that any requirement therein has been violated.
23. Notification of Noncompliance.
a. If the Department believes that this Agreement or any portion of it has been violated, it will immediately notify the Office of the County Counsel and the Sheriff in writing and attempt to resolve the issue.
b. The Department will give the Sheriff thirty (30) days from the date it notifies the County Counsel and the Sheriff of any breach of this Agreement to make good faith efforts to cure that breach. After thirty days and prior to instituting any court action, the Parties shall meet and confer in good faith on the breach, the progress being made toward curing the breach, and the timeliness of such progress.
c. If the Parties reach an impasse and are unable to reach a satisfactory resolution of the issue(s) after meeting and conferring in good faith, the Department may institute a civil action in federal district court to enforce the terms of this Agreement or Title II and may, in such action, seek any relief available under the law.
Failure by the Department to enforce any provision or deadline of this Agreement will not be construed as a waiver of its right to enforce other provisions or deadlines of this Agreement.
25. Term of Agreement.
The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below. This Agreement will remain in effect for three (3) years from the effective date of this Agreement.
The paragraph headings in this Agreement are for convenience only and will not be deemed to affect in any way the language of the provisions to which they refer.
27. Signatories Bind Parties.
The person signing for the Parties represent that they are authorized to bind their respective Parties to this Agreement.
28. Entire Agreement.
This Settlement Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties relating to Department of Justice Complaint No. 204-11-290, and no other statement, promise, or agreement, either written or oral, made by any party or agents of any party, that is not contained in this written Settlement Agreement, including its attachments, will be enforceable.
29. Public Document.
A copy of this document may be made available to any person by the Sheriff or the Department upon request.
30. Parameters of Agreement.
This Agreement does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other Federal law not specifically referenced herein. This Agreement does not affect the Sheriff’s continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA.
If any term of this Agreement is determined by any court to be unenforceable, the other terms of this Agreement shall nonetheless remain in full force and effect, provided, however, that if the severance of any such provision materially alters the rights or obligations of the parties, the United States and the Sheriff shall engage in good faith negotiations in order to adopt mutually agreeable amendments to this Agreement as may be necessary to restore the parties as closely as possible to the initially agreed upon relative rights and obligations.
[END OF GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS]
For the County of Alameda:
Title: President, Board of Supervisors
County of Alameda Sheriff’s Office
Title: Sheriff, County of Alameda____
Approved as to Form:
For the United States:
THOMAS E. PEREZ
JOHN L. WODATCH, Chief
|Dated: February 2, 2010|
It is the policy of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (the “Sheriff”) to ensure that a consistently high level of service is provided to all community members, including those who are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind. The Sheriff has specific legal obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. To carry out these policies and legal obligations, the Sheriff instructs its employees as follows:
*People who identify themselves as deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind are entitled to a level of service equivalent to that provided others.
* The Sheriff will make every effort to ensure that its employees communicate effectively with people who have identified themselves as deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind.
* Effective communication with a person who is deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind involved in an incident -- whether as a victim, witness, suspect, arrestee or other person connected to the situation -- is essential in ascertaining what actually occurred, the urgency of the matter, and the specifics of the situation.
* Various types of communication aids – known as “auxiliary aids and services” – are used to communicate with people who are deaf or hard of hearing. These include use of gestures or visual aids to supplement oral communication; an exchange of written notes; use of a computer or typewriter; use of assistive listening devices (to amplify sound for persons who are hard of hearing); or use of qualified oral, sign language or tactile interpreters.
* The type of aid that will be required for effective communication will depend on the individual’s usual method of communication, and the nature, importance, and duration of the communication at issue.
* In many circumstances, oral communication supplemented by gestures and visual aids, an exchange of written notes, use of a computer or typewriter, or use of an assistive listening device may be effective. In other circumstances, qualified oral, sign language or tactile interpreters are needed to communicate effectively with persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind.
* To serve each individual effectively, primary consideration should be given to the communication aid or service that works best for that person. Deputies may ask persons who appear to be deaf or hard of hearing whether they need any type of auxiliary aid or service. Deputies will make the effort to defer to those expressed choices, unless there is another equally effective way of communicating, given the circumstances, length, time constraints, complexity, and importance of the communication, as well as the communication skills of the person who is deaf or hard of hearing.
* The Sheriff is not required to provide a particular auxiliary aid or service if doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of the law enforcement activity in question, or if it would cause an undue administrative or financial burden. Only the Sheriff or his or her designee may make this determination.
* The input of people who are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind who are involved in incidents is just as important to the law enforcement process as the input of others.
* Auxiliary aids or services are to be provided free of charge.
TTY AND RELAY SERVICES
* In situations when a nondisabled person would have access to a telephone, deputies must provide persons who are deaf or hard of hearing the opportunity to place calls using a text telephone (TTY, also known as a telecommunications device for deaf people, or TDD). The detention facility employees must also accept telephone calls placed by persons who are deaf or hard of hearing through the Telecommunications Relay Service.
EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION WITH INMATES AND VISITORS WHO ARE DEAF, HARD OF HEARING OR DEAF-BLIND IN THE
ALAMEDA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE’S
PROGRAMS, ACTIVITIES, AND SERVICES AT
THE DETENTION FACILITIES
The purpose of this policy is to establish procedures to provide auxiliary aids and services whenever necessary to ensure effective communication with qualified individuals with disabilities at the following detention facilities: Santa Rita Jail and Glenn E. Dyer Detention Facility.
This policy applies to all services, programs, and activities provided at the above-named facilities.
It is the policy of the Sheriff’s Office (“Sheriff”) to ensure that it will take appropriate steps to ensure that communication with inmates, visitors, and members of the public with disabilities are as effective as communication with others. The Sheriff will furnish reasonable and appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to participate in, and enjoy the benefits of, a service, program, or activity conducted by the Sheriff.
A. Establishment of Auxiliary Aids and Services (AAS) Policy Enforcement. The Sheriff’s Inmate Services Unit shall be responsible for providing auxiliary aids and services; scheduling, announcing, and promoting all training required by this Policy; and drafting, providing, and maintaining, all reports required by this Policy.
B. The Inmate Services Unit shall maintain all necessary information about access to and the operation of this Policy. The Inmate Services Unit shall provide appropriate assistance regarding immediate access to and proper use of the appropriate auxiliary aids and services available under this Policy. The Inmate Services Unit personnel shall know how to obtain services, where the appropriate auxiliary aids are stored, and how to operate them, and shall be responsible for their maintenance, repair, replacement, and distribution. The American Correctional Association Unit shall maintain records of requests for inquiries regarding the provision of auxiliary aids and services and responses, to the extent such inquiries and provisions are not made between the inmate and his or her medical provider at the detention facility.
C. Provision of Appropriate Auxiliary Aids and Services
1. Auxiliary aids and services. The Sheriff shall provide to inmates and visitors who are deaf or hard of hearing, an appropriate auxiliary aid or service that may be necessary for effective communication as soon as practicable after determining that the aid or service is necessary. Auxiliary aids and services include qualified interpreters, note takers, transcription services, written materials, assistive listening devices, assistive listening systems, or other effective methods of making aurally delivered materials available to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
2. Determination of auxiliary aid or service. The determination of which appropriate auxiliary aids and services are necessary, and the timing, duration and frequency with which they will be provided, shall be made by the Sheriff’s personnel who are otherwise primarily responsible for coordinating and/or providing inmate services, in consultation with the person with a disability. When an auxiliary aid or service is required to ensure effective communication, the Sheriff shall provide an opportunity for an individual with a disability to request the auxiliary aid or service of his or her choice and shall give primary consideration to the choice expressed by the individual. The Sheriff shall honor the expressed choice, unless it can show that another equally effective means of communication is available, or that use of the means chosen would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of its service, program, or activity or in undue financial and administrative burdens.
3. Initial communication assessment. The initial inmate communication assessment shall be made at the time of the initial intake interview of inmates at the detention facilities. Properly trained personnel shall perform and document a communication assessment as part of the inmate’s record.
4. Ongoing communication assessment. The Sheriff’s Medical Care Provider shall conduct at least one (1) routine assessment monthly of each inmate with a hearing disability to determine appropriate auxiliary aids and services. The Medical Care Provider’s personnel shall keep appropriate records that reflect the ongoing assessments, such as notations in inmates’ records.
D. Policies and Security Concerns. Nothing in this policy shall require that an electronic device or piece of equipment used as an appropriate auxiliary aid be used when or where its use may be inconsistent with the Sheriff's detention policies or pose security concerns. For instance, closed captioned or subtitled televisions will be provided consistently for inmates with hearing disabilities with the same duration and frequency as televisions that are provided to the other inmates classified in the same inmate status.
E. Complaint Resolution. The Sheriff shall maintain an effective complaint resolution procedure regarding the provision of auxiliary aids and services and shall maintain records of all complaints filed and actions taken with respect thereto.
F. Individual Notice in Absence of Request. If an inmate who is deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind does not request appropriate auxiliary aids or services but personnel have reason to believe that the person would benefit from appropriate auxiliary aids or services for effective communication, the Sheriff may inform the person directly that appropriate auxiliary aids and services are available free of charge.
G. Communication with Inmates and Visitors. The Sheriff shall take appropriate steps to ensure that all personnel having contact with an inmate who is deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind are made aware of the person’s disability so that effective communication with the person will be achieved.
A. Provision of Qualified Interpreters. The Sheriff shall provide qualified interpreters when necessary for effective communication with, or effective participation in the Sheriff’s programs and activities by inmates and visitors who are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind. The following are examples of circumstances when it may be necessary to provide interpreters:
* initial intake and classification processing;
* regularly scheduled in-house health care appointments and programs (medical, dental, visual, mental health, and drug and alcohol recovery services);
* treatment and other formal programming;
* educational classes and activities;
* parole hearings conducted by the Sheriff;
* any official hearings conducted by the Sheriff in which the inmate is a participant;
* criminal investigations (to the extent controlled by the Sheriff);
* classification review interviews;
* grievance interviews;
* religious services; and
* formal investigations conducted by the Sheriff staff.
The foregoing list of circumstances is neither exhaustive nor mandatory, and shall not imply that there are not other circumstances when it may be appropriate to provide interpreters for effective communication.
B. Qualified Interpreters. A qualified interpreter means an interpreter who is able to interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially both receptively and expressively, using any necessary specialized vocabulary. An employee who signs "pretty well" should not be considered an interpreter until he or she possesses the proper skills to observe someone signing and change their signed or finger spelled communication into spoken words and vice versa. An employee should not be allowed to interpret if his or her presence poses a conflict of interest or raises confidentiality and privacy concerns. On occasion, an inmate may possess the skill level necessary to provide interpreting services; however, the impartiality concerns remain, and in many--if not most--situations, inmate interpreters should not be used due to confidentiality, privacy, and security reasons. Someone who has only a rudimentary familiarity with sign language or finger spelling is not a "qualified interpreter" under this policy. Likewise, someone who is fluent in sign language but who does not possess the ability to process spoken communication into the proper signs or to observe someone else signing and change their signed or finger spelled communication into spoken words is not a qualified sign language interpreter.
C. Contracts for the Provision of Interpreting Services. The Sheriff shall establish contracts, or the Sheriff shall provide other effective means, to ensure that qualified interpreters are available when required, without delay. The foregoing response times are subject to “force majeure” events, i.e., any response time that is delayed because of a force majeure event is excluded from the determination of whether the prescribed response criteria have been met. Force majeure events are events outside the reasonable control of the Sheriff, the interpreting service agency or the interpreter called to respond, such as weather problems, other Acts of God, unanticipated illness or injury of the interpreter while en route to the detention facilities, and unanticipated transportation problems (including, without limitation, mechanical failure of the interpreter’s automobile, automobile accidents and roadway obstructions other than routine traffic or congestion).
D. Other Means of Communication During Non-scheduled Circumstances. Between the time an interpreter is requested and when an interpreter arrives, Sheriff personnel shall continue to try to communicate with the inmate or visitor who is deaf or hard of hearing for such purposes and to the same extent as they would have communicated with the person but for the hearing impairment, using all available methods of communication. For instance, seeking the services of an interpreter shall not mean that medical treatment will be delayed until the interpreter arrives. In addition, upon arrival of the interpreter, personnel shall review and confirm with the inmate all information received prior to the arrival, without benefit of the interpreter. This provision in no way lessens the Sheriff’s obligation to provide qualified interpreters in person in a timely manner as required by this Policy.
E. Staff Interpreters. The Sheriff may, but shall have no obligation to, hire or otherwise contract with qualified interpreters for a staff position. Staff interpreters must be qualified as set forth in Section V.I.B. Inmates and visitors who are provided with staff interpreters must have the same level of coverage (for both duration and frequency) as the Sheriff is otherwise obligated to provide under this Policy. The Sheriff may assign other duties as appropriate to staff interpreters that do not interfere with the provision of sign language interpreting service.
VI. HEARING AIDS AND BATTERIES
A. Replacement Batteries. The Sheriff’s Medical Care Provider shall purchase and keep appropriate types of hearing aid batteries in stock in the medical supply room during the length of time an inmate(s) who wears a hearing aid is in the custody of the Sheriff. The Medical Care Provider shall provide replacement hearing aid batteries to inmates requesting them as soon as possible but no later than 24 hours after such request. The cost for all batteries shall be borne by the inmate.
B. Hearing Aid Repairs. The Sheriff’s Medical Care Provider shall send inmate hearing aids to a hearing aid repair company as soon as possible but no later than 24 hours (excluding weekends and holidays) following a request by an inmate for repair of his or her hearing aid. The Sheriff’s Medical Care Provider shall inform the inmate as soon as possible when his or her hearing aid was sent for repair by the Medical Care Provider and when it is expected to be returned by the repair company. The Medical Care Provider shall provide the inmate with written documentation of all hearing aid repairs, including detailed information regarding the vendor used, the date of the repair, and the specific repairs performed. The cost for all repairs shall be borne by the inmate.
A. TTYs. The Sheriff shall adopt and implement written policies and procedures to provide telecommunication devices for the deaf (“TTYs”) for inmates who are deaf or hard of hearing in a manner that ensures effective access to telephone services. These policies and procedures shall also provide that inmates who are hearing have access to TTY’s to communicate with family members or friends who are deaf or hard of hearing.
1. TTYs in visiting areas. The Sheriff shall make a TTY device available in each of the detention facilities. There shall be at least one TTY in each of the visiting areas used by inmates and/or visitors who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind. The Sheriff can either permanently install the required TTYs or make available a sufficient number of portable TTYs. Wherever pay telephones are available but TTYs are not permanently installed, the Sheriff shall post permanent signs to indicate the location of the nearest portable or permanently installed TTYs in the lobby of each detention facility and wherever deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind inmates are housed.
2. TTYs in housing units and other areas. The Sheriff shall promptly provide TTY units to all deaf and hard of hearing inmates residing in housing units to the extent that pay telephones are available to other inmates. In those situations where the Sheriff provides portable TTYs, the housing staff shall promptly provide the units upon the inmate’s request, absent emergency circumstances, for purposes of communicating with Sheriff’s employees or medical staff. The Sheriff shall also make a TTY unit(s) available whenever a pay telephone is made available to inmates in other areas than housing units.
3. TTY Toll-free Numbers. The Sheriff shall take the steps necessary to provide inmates and visitors with access to toll-free numbers for telephone relay services or TTY operators, and post these numbers near all pay telephones, with notice that they are toll-free numbers.
B. Hearing Aid Compatible Telephones. The Sheriff shall ensure that no less than twenty-five (25) percent of all of its pay telephones are hearing aid compatible. The Sheriff shall ensure that hearing aid compatible telephones are dispersed among all pay telephones throughout the Sheriff.
The Sheriff shall provide and maintain closed captioned television decoders (or built-in decoder televisions) or televisions with subtitle capabilities in television rooms to enable inmates who are deaf or hard of hearing to enjoy the same opportunity for television viewing as that afforded to other inmates.
A. Signs. The Sheriff shall post and maintain signs of conspicuous size and print at all facilities, and wherever other posters or flyers are required by law to be posted. Such signs shall be to the following effect:
Sign language and oral interpreters, TTYs, and other auxiliary aids and services are available free of charge to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. For assistance, please contact any Sheriff’s personnel.
These signs will include the international symbols for “interpreters” and “TTYs.” An example is attached hereto as Exhibit A.
B. Inmate Handbook. The Sheriff will include in all future printings of its Inmate Rules & Information (or equivalent) and all similar publications a statement to the following effect:
To ensure effective communication with inmates and their visitors who are deaf or hard of hearing, we provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services free of charge, such as: sign language and oral interpreters, TTY's, notetakers, computer-assisted real time transcription services, written materials, telephone handset amplifiers, assistive listening devices and systems, telephones compatible with hearing aids, closed caption decoders, and open and closed captioning of Sheriff programs.
Please ask your Deputy for assistance.
C. Notice to the Sheriff Personnel
The Sheriff shall publish, in an appropriate form, a written policy statement regarding the Sheriff's policy for effective communication with persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. The policy statement shall include, but is not limited to, language to the following effect:
"If you are made aware of or have any reason to believe that an inmate or visitor is deaf or hard of hearing, you may advise the person that appropriate auxiliary aids and services will be provided. Personnel should direct that person to the appropriate Inmate Services Unit employee. Likewise such information must be forthcoming in response to any request for appropriate auxiliary aids or services.”
The Sheriff shall distribute this document to all personnel, and to all new personnel.
X. PERSONNEL TRAINING
A. Training. The Sheriff shall provide training sessions as part of its in-service training for all Sheriff personnel having contact with deaf or hard of hearing inmates and all management or administration staff regarding all relevant policies and procedures implementing this Policy.
B. Content. Such training shall be sufficient in duration and content to train Sheriff personnel who routinely interact with inmates with disabilities in access to the Policy, use of the Policy, and awareness of the needs of the deaf and hard of hearing inmate population.
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February 4, 2010