Arizona prisons reach deal with DOJ to remedy visual impairment support
Nov 18, 2023, 8:25 PM
(Photo by Axel Koester/Corbis via Getty Images)
PHOENIX — The U.S. Justice Department announced last week the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation, and Reentry has agreed to adopt systemwide reforms to correct and prevent discrimination against incarcerated people with vision disabilities.
The DOJ issued findings in July that ADCRR violated Americans with Disabilities Act by discriminating against incarcerated individuals with vision disabilities, including those who are blind or have low vision.
According to the DOJ, the discrimination came in the form of not providing Braille materials and displays, audio recordings and screen reader software so inmates with vision disabilities could communicate effectively.
Additionally, the findings said ADCRR failed to provide accessible processes to request accommodations or file disability-related complaints and over-relied on other incarcerated people to help individuals with vision disabilities.
“People with vision disabilities held in jails and prisons should not be subjected to a higher risk of harm or exposed to greater restrictions than their sighted peers,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
Under the three-year agreement, ADCRR will retain an expert third-party consultant to help revise policies and practices, train personnel and provide aids, services and assistive technology to people with vision disabilities.
The prisons department is also required to adopt screening and documentation procedures and designate a systemwide ADA administrator and facility ADA coordinators to ensure consistent implementation of the agreement.