Florida Prisons Accused of Mistreating Disabled

(CN) – The Florida Department of Corrections routinely denies disabled prisoners access to wheelchairs, canes, sign language interpreters and even hearing aids, a disability rights group claims in court.
In a lawsuit filed in Tallahassee Federal Court on behalf of 32 inmates, Disability Rights Florida claims the routinely encountered access of other difficulties that the state prison system could have easily rectified.  Instead, the group says in its 123-page complaint, the Florida Department of Corrections chose to willfully violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the Eighth Amendment, and the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The suit maintains that not only does the situation create a hardship in their day-to-day existence, but it prevents them from taking advantage of educational or work programs.According to the complaint, not only did the state’s prisons fail to accommodate inmate disabilities, but they retaliated against inmates who filed grievances about the challenges they encountered.
“There are hundreds – if not thousands – of people with physical disabilities who are incarcerated in Florida,” said Randall Berg Jr. of the Florida Justice Institute in a statement. “Even though they are in prison, the law requires that they be properly accommodated so that they can have equal access to programs, services, and activities. But the Florida Department of Corrections is not following the law.”

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