A. SCOPE OF THE INVESTIGATION
This matter was initiated by a complaint filed under title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134, with the United States Department of Justice (Department) against the Cheatham County Jail, Tennessee (Jail). The complaint was received by the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice under the authority of 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F. The complainant alleges that the Jail is inaccessible to people with mobility impairments.
Because Cheatham County receives financial assistance from the Department of Justice, the investigation was also conducted under the authority of § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794, and the Departments implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 42, Subpart G.
The Department expanded the scope of the investigation to include the Cheatham County Jails compliance with the following title II requirements:
- to operate each program, service, or activity so that, when viewed in its entirety, it is readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, 28 C.F.R. § 35.150, by:
- delivery of services, programs, or activities in alternate ways, including, for example, redesign of equipment, reassignment of services, assignment of aides, home visits, or other methods of compliance, or, if these methods are not effective in making the programs accessible;
- physical changes to buildings (required to be made by January 26, 1995), in accordance with the Departments title II regulation, 28 C.F.R. § 35.151, and the ADA Standards for Accessible Design (Standards) or the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS);
- to ensure that communications with applicants, participants, and members of the public with disabilities are as effective as communications with others, including furnishing auxiliary aids and services when necessary, 28 C.F.R. § 35.160;
The Department limited its review to those of the Cheatham County Jails programs, services, and activities that operate in the Jails facility.
The parties to this Agreement are the United States of America and the Cheatham County Jail. In order to avoid the burdens and expenses of an investigation and possible litigation, the parties hereby agree as follows:
1. The ADA applies to the Cheatham County Jail because it is a public entity as defined by title II. 42 U.S.C. § 12131(1).
2. The Department is authorized under 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F, to investigate the complaint in this matter to determine the compliance of the Jail with title II of the ADA and the Department's implementing title II regulation, 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 fail to secure voluntary compliance pursuant to Subpart F.
3. The Department is authorized under 28 C.F.R. Part 42, Subpart G, to investigate the complaint in this matter to determine the Jails compliance with § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, to issue findings, and, where appropriate to negotiate and secure voluntary compliance agreements. Furthermore, the Attorney General is authorized, under 29 U.S.C. § 794 and 28 C.F.R. §§ 42.530, 42.108-110, to suspend or terminate financial assistance to the Jail provided by the Department of Justice should the Department fail to secure voluntary compliance pursuant to Subpart G or bring a civil suit to enforce the rights of the United States under applicable federal, state, or local law.
C. REMEDIAL ACTION
4. The Department and the Jail enter into this Settlement Agreement without trial or adjudication in order to amicably resolve this matter without any admission of law or fact by either party. In consideration of the terms of this Agreement, the United States agrees to refrain from filing a civil suit in this matter regarding the programs, services, and facilities discussed in paragraphs 6 and except as provided in paragraphs 10 and 12.
5. The United States and the Jail (collectively, the Parties) agree that the technical requirements and, where appropriate, the scoping requirements of the Standards are, for purposes of this Agreement, used as a guide for determining whether a program or activity held in an existing facility is readily accessible to and usable by persons with physical disabilities, and to determine what changes are necessary to make this program or activity accessible if it continues to be provided in the existing facility in question. See 28 C.F.R. §§ 35.150(b)(1), 35.151. None of the facilities in this Agreement were newly constructed or altered after January 26, 1992.
6. Cheatham County Jail shall complete the following modifications within 6 months of the effective date of this Agreement:
a. The parking lot has two parking spaces marked as accessible. There are no access aisles provided for the spaces, and there is no van-accessible space provided. Provide a shared 96-inch wide access aisle, with compliant signage, and a van-accessible sign mounted under the International Symbol of Accessibility at the van-accessible space such that the signage cannot be obscured by vehicles parked in the space. Standards §§ 4.1.2(5)(b), 4.6.3 & Fig. 9, 4.6.4.
b. The public toilet rooms do not have compliant signage. Install a sign for each toilet room, using raised characters and Braille, on the wall adjacent to the latch side of the door so that the centerline of the sign is 60 inches above the finish floor and so that a person can approach to within 3 inches of the signage without encountering obstructions or standing within the swing of a door. Standards
§§ 4.1.3(16)(a), 4.30.1, 4.30.4, 4.30.5, 4.30.6.
c. The designated accessible inmate shower is not compliant. Provide a seat in the shower that is mounted between 17 and 19 inches above the finish floor and extends the full depth of the stall, and provide a grab bar that extends the full 36 inch depth of the stall. Standards §§ 4.21.3, 4.21.4 & Figs. 35(a), 36, 37(a).
d. The entry gate to the counsel area of the General Sessions Courtroom has a clear opening width that is too narrow. Provide at least one entry with a minimum clear opening width of 32 inches measured from the face of the door to the opposite stop with the door open 90 degrees. Standards § 4.13.5.
e. The entry gate to the counsel area of the Circuit Courtroom has a clear opening width that is too narrow. Provide at least one entry with a minimum clear opening width of 32 inches measured from the face of the door or gate to the opposite stop with the door open 90 degrees. Standards § 4.13.5.
f. Permanently installed public telephones are provided within holding rooms or housing areas. Provide telephones that have volume controls with signage complying with the Standards, and mounted at a height no higher than 48 inches above the finish floor for a forward reach, or 54 inches above the finish floor for a side reach. Standards §§ 4.30, 4.31.3, 4.31.5, 7(2).
g. There are no handrails provided on one side of the entrance ramp. Provide handrails on both sides of the ramp that are between 34 and 38 inches high, have extensions of at least 12 inches beyond the top and bottom of the ramp segment, and have ends that are rounded or returned to the floor, wall, or post and otherwise comply with the Standards. Standards §§ 4.3.7, 4.8.5, 4.26.
h. Audible emergency warning systems are provided to serve the occupants of holding or housing cells, rooms or areas. Provide visual alarms complying with the Standards. Standard § 4.28.3.
i. The drinking fountains in the facility are inaccessible. Provide a drinking fountain in the public area of the facility that is accessible with a spout no more than 36 inches above the finish floor and a second fountain that is accessible to those who have difficulty bending and stooping, both with accessible hardware that does not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist to operate; or provide a water cooler in an accessible location with cups that dispense within the reach ranges of persons who use wheelchairs. Ensure that the fountains or water coolers with cup dispensers will comply with all applicable provisions of the Standards. Standards §§ 4.15.2, 4.15.5 and Fig. 27, 4.27.3, 4.2.5, and 4.2.6.
j. Program access is not provided for inmates with hearing or speech impairments. Provide at least one text telephone with compliant signage. Standards
§§ 4.30.7(3), 4.31.9.
7. Cheatham County Jail shall complete the following modifications within 1 year of the effective date of this Agreement:
a. The designated accessible toilet stall in each public toilet room contains the following non-compliant elements: the stall is too narrow; there is no rear grab bar; the toilet paper dispenser is not mounted in an accessible location; and in the mens toilet room the flush valve control is located on the closed side of the stall. Provide a standard accessible toilet stall at least 60 inches wide and 59 inches deep (or at least 56 inches deep if the toilet is wall hung) in the each toilet room such that all of the stalls elements, including stall door, stall door hardware, water closet, size and arrangement, toe clearances, grab bars, controls and dispensers, comply with the Standards. Standards §§ 4.13, 4.17 & Fig. 30(a), 4.22.4, 4.22.7, 4.26, 4.27.
b. The designated accessible inmate cells in the jail are not compliant. Provide at least one accessible cell with an entry door that is at least 32 inches wide; a bed that has maneuvering space of at least 36 inches wide along one side and allows a person using a wheelchair to make a parallel transfer onto the bed; and with a toilet and lavatory that complies with the Standards, including requirements for clear floor space, knee clearance, toilet height, grab bars, and accessible hardware. Standards §§ 4.13.5 & Fig. 24, 4.16, 4.35.4, 9.2.2(1).
D. IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT
8. Any new construction or future alterations undertaken by the Jail will be done in a manner that complies with the Standards.
9. Except as otherwise specified in this Agreement, at 90 and 180 days after the effective date of this Agreement, and thereafter for the term of this Settlement Agreement at yearly anniversaries of the effective date, the Jail will submit detailed written reports to the Department summarizing the actions the Jail has taken pursuant to this Agreement. These reports will include photographs and architectural plans.
10. The Department may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. If the Department believes that this Agreement or any portion of it has been violated, it will so notify the Jail in writing and it will attempt to resolve the issue or issues in good faith. If the Department is unable to reach a satisfactory resolution of the issue or issues raised within 30 days of the date it provides notice to the Jail, it may institute a civil action in federal district court directly to enforce title II or to enforce the terms of this Agreement, or it may initiate appropriate steps to enforce section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
11. Failure by the Department to enforce this entire Agreement or any provision thereof with regard to any deadline or any other provision herein shall not be construed as a waiver of the Department's right to enforce other deadlines and provisions of this Agreement.
12. In the event that the Jail fails to comply in a timely manner with any requirement of this Agreement without obtaining sufficient advance written agreement with the Department as a temporary modification of the relevant terms of this Agreement, the Department may file suit in an appropriate federal court to enforce the terms of the Agreement, may declare the Agreement null and void and file suit to enforce title II of the ADA, or may initiate appropriate steps to enforce section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
13. This Agreement is a public document. A copy of this document or any information contained in it shall be made available to any person by the Jail or the Department on request.
14. This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties on the matters raised herein, and no other statement, promise, or agreement, either written or oral, made by either party or agents of either party, that is not contained in this written Agreement, shall be enforceable. This Agreement does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other federal law. This Agreement does not affect the Jails continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA.
15. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
16. This Agreement will remain in effect for one year after the date of the final deadline set forth in this Agreement.
17. The person signing for the Cheatham County Jail represents that he is authorized to bind the Jail to this Agreement.
For the Jail: For the United States:
Cheatam County Jail
100 Court Square
Ashland City, Tennessee 37015
Ralph F. Boyd, Jr.
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
JOHN L. WODATCH, Chief
SUSAN BUCKINGHAM REILLY,Deputy Chief
NAOMI MILTON, Supervisory Attorney
Disability Rights Section-NYA
Civil Rights Division
U.S Department of Jsutice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20530
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June 16, 2003