Boston Red Sox to Begin Training in ASL

By BitcoDavid

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

The 2013 World Champion Boston Red Sox will begin a program of ASL training for all players, according to principal owner, John Henry. Henry said, “This has nothing to do with communication. It occurred to me and to [team manager] John Farrell, that ASL would be a good way for our players to improve coordination skills and arm strength.”

An intensive program of ASL in conjunction with Ballet and needlepoint is scheduled to begin as early as May 1st. Participation is mandatory, and the association is currently investigating the contractual and legal issues.

“After all, we won the Series last year,” added noted pitcher Jon Lester, “so this year’s kind of a throw-away. I mean, what have we got to lose?”

Not to get caught behind the eight-ball on this, the N.Y. Yankees issued a statement that all players will now train with dark glasses, earmuffs and a cork in their mouths, while music from The Who’s Tommy will be blasted from the P.A.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

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The Struggle of the Deaf in Prison

By BitcoDavid

Image: Wikipedia

Image: Wikipedia

Deep beneath Colorado’s Cheyenne Mountain – recently renamed Mt. BitcoDavid – lies the DeafInPrison.com complex. Here, thousands of worker bees  – wearing black suits, dark sunglasses and coiled thingies in their ears – drive around in blacked-out Chevy Suburbans, and labor tirelessly to bring you the best in Internet content.

Recently they received a communique from the Silent Grapevine, requesting a supporter contribution. Here is BitcoDavid’s response to that request:

The Struggle of the Deaf in Prison

By
BitcoDavid

All three elements of interaction with the Justice system, directly affect the Deaf in far different ways than they do the Hearing.

1) Arrest: The goal of police during an arrest is to take physical custody of a suspect. Their only concern is discovering hidden weapons, and preventing escape. There is little opportunity for communication during this phase, and an ability of the suspect to follow orders is essential. When a cop holding his gun, yells “get down or I’ll shoot,” you need to get down. If you can’t understand that command, you’re in immediate danger. Many Deaf sacrifice their Constitutional rights, due to lack of understanding the Miranda warning. A written card containing the Miranda rights is useless, because many Deaf have limited reading ability.

The interrogation phase of arrest is equally fraught with communicational failings. Many Deaf, in order to fit in, or to expedite an uncomfortable situation, will respond to questioning by smile and nod. This leads Hearing to believe that the Deaf understand what is going on, even when they don’t. Finally, out of fear and exhaustion, the suspects will often confess to things they didn’t do. After 12, 24, possibly even 48 hours of grueling questions – none of which they can hear or understand – they confess.

2) Court proceedings and trial: Here, an interpreter is essential, but is often denied. An example is the now 33-year-old case of Felix Garcia, the man that DeafInPrison.com is working to pardon. On numerous occasions, the judge would ask Felix if he could hear. For reasons that he himself isn’t completely clear on, he would answer in the affirmative. In the end, all they did was turn the speakers all the way up, causing Felix great pain, but not aiding at all in his ability to hear the accusations and evidence against him.

If a Deaf defendant is at all likely to have the benefit of a qualified ASL interpreter, it is during the trial phase. However, interpreters cost money that states are loath to spend. They will invariably try to find cost cutting methods of getting things done. Why add to an already expensive trial if you can prove that no interpreter is required?

3) Incarceration: It is here that the Deaf suffer most. It is here as well, that competent interpreters are most necessary, and least often made available. There have been cases reported of Deaf inmates not reporting for Count, because the order is verbal. Failure to report for Count can result in serious punishment such as Solitary Confinement. The same situation exists with Mess. Often, Deaf inmates go without being fed, because they are unaware that it’s time to eat.

The biggest problem for the Deaf in America’s prisons is violence and rape. Deaf people cannot hear whispers and muttering. They can’t hear people coming up behind them, and they have difficulty in reporting such activities. They struggle receiving medical care, because they can’t hear the doctors and nurses, therefore may not be as able to take part in their therapy, or in filling prescriptions, as can their Hearing counterparts. Conversely, they are less able to describe symptoms or to otherwise aid in their diagnoses.

The number of prisons and jails that offer onsite interpreters for these situations is relatively small – even in these days of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Furthermore, even if interpreters are available, the inmate must request one before the appointment.

Guards often see Deaf inmates as troublemakers. Nothing gets under a Corrections Officer’s skin, as much as a special request or need. When you’re in charge of 1000 or more individuals, the last thing you want to hear is inmate XYZ needs an interpreter.

We can address and eliminate these issues with a small amount of effort.

Every police cruiser in this country is equipped with onboard computers and WiFi. Police should learn how to use video relay via the Internet. Deaf suspects can be brought to the cruiser, where they would be able to offer a defense against arrest, and at the same time, be informed as to why they’re being arrested and what is expected of them.

Detectives need to conduct interrogations with interpreters present. If costs and availability were an issue, again, Internet interpreters and video relay would do the trick.

The responsibility for determining a defendant’s ability to aid in his own defense should no longer be the purview of judges and attorneys. The court should consult with an audiologist if there is any question as to a defendant’s competency.

Prisons and jails would need to make three significant changes. First, interpreters should be full-time on all shifts, and available. Inmates shouldn’t have to go through official channels to request an interpreter. Secondly, institutions need to house Deaf inmates in separate dorms, fully equipped to meet their needs. Finally, Deaf and bilingual (English/ASL) guards would be greatly beneficial.

Lastly, of course, if ASL were offered in all public schools, colleges and trade schools, individuals – law enforcement and otherwise – would be able to communicate with the Deaf, and would be able to reap the many advantages of learning Sign.

Image: Wikipedia

Image: Wikipedia

My gratitude and appreciation to Silent Grapevine for this opportunity.

Also, don’t forget that the #KeepASLinSchools video is done and can be seen here and here. Felix’s case is garnering much needed attention, thanks to the efforts of Sachs Media Group who is still maintaining their petition, here. Please take a minute to sign – even if you’ve already signed ours. It is critically important. And thank you all, for your continued support.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

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Press Release on Felix Garcia Case

By BitcoDavid

Photo: Hundreds rallied at the Florida Capitol today! Help Felix Garcia by signing the Change.org petition. http://bit.ly/FreeFelix

Rally at Florida State Capitol for SB1304 and HB1125 – and for Clemency for Felix. Image: Sachs Media Group

Below, you can see a copy of the press release that Sachs Media Group sent out to all the major players in both the national and local media. DeafInPrison.com is not only proud of our efforts to free Felix Garcia, but we are also quite flattered that Sachs Media included us in that distribution. New York Times – we take our place at your table. Pass the biscuits, please.

Again, this is a press release. So, no pictures. That’s why I embedded it, rather than pasting it into this article. But it is the first press release we’ve ever received. In the words of Faith Hill, “I still like to wear my old ball cap – ride my kids around piggy-back.”

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

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Deaf Bill of Rights act in Georgia

By Supporter Contributor Frank James John Lala, Jr., Ph.D.

 

Here’s the linked Ruling via embedded PDF.

 

For more reading by Frank James John Lala Jr. Ph.D. see the link below.

http://www.amazon.com/Counseling-Substance-Abuser-Frank-James/dp/0966375300

Keynote Speaker at the World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf on Mental Health Issues (1999), and author of, “Counseling the Deaf Substance Abuser”. Dr. Frank Lala, recipient of Gallaudet University’s prestigious Laurent Clerc Award by Dr. I. King Jordan in recognition for the work in mental health and substance abuse. Author has both School Smarts (Education/Degrees) and Street Smarts (Experience/Harsh Childhood that gives him Survival Skills, Character, and Perspectives on Life)

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#KeepASLInSchools Video Finally Done!

By BitcoDavid

It was like the 7 labors of Hercules!

All kidding aside, it was a great project and I am proud and happy to have been a part of it. So, without further ado…

As I am working more and more with Sign now, I’m learning some of the significant differences between ASL and English. In video, the most significant difference is speed. I have learned that even Native Signers cannot communicate at the same speed as oral speakers. Most videos have a video track and an audio track. In some cases you will also have a narration track and perhaps a musical soundtrack. In the case of this particular video, we had a video track, a narration track, a musical soundtrack and a captioned overlay track.

Chipmunk

Chipmunk (Photo credit: ogwen)

now you can generally speed-up or slow-down the video tracks, but the audio tracks have to maintain the speed they were recorded in, or they will change pitch. Radically, in fact. Preteen girls sound like grizzled old men, and grizzled old men sound like Alvin’s Chipmunks. (In fact, that’s the secret behind those chipmunk voices.) Oh, and don’t think you can rely on things like Pitch Shifters or Autotune to fix these problems, either. They won’t work.

English: David R Ferguson Audio Engineer

David R Ferguson Audio Engineer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, the point is, when putting together a video, you start with the audio tracks and build around them, not the other way round. Great, but the audio tracks in this case are naturally 1 and 1/2 to 2 times the speed of the signed video tracks. Soooo, it was a lot of fun at the ol’ BitcoDavid audiovisual research lab.

Anyway, it’s all done and I sincerely hope you like it – and perhaps learn a little something from it.

My heartfelt thanks go out to Monica Hood of DeafInsight and all those who contributed to the project.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

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Is the U.S. Becoming a Police State?

By BitcoDavid

police_state

The above infographic was made by SecurityHub.com, and sent to me via e-mail. the full sized original can be viewed, Here. Please comment. I would be interested to know if our readers agree or disagree.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

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Dogs Serving Time in Prison – Temporarily

By Pat Bliss

English: Golden retriever puppy, three months ...

Golden retriever puppy, three months old. (Daisy Parker) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is not a normal posting about deaf prisoners, but my friend BitcoDavid is an avid dog lover so I have combined the two. These dogs inside prisons are trained to be service dogs for wheelchair people, autistic children, PTSD vets and facility dogs for hospitals and nursing homes. They come from New Horizons Service Dogs Inc. in Orlando, FL. I keep in touch with a Florida prisoner who trains these service dogs and Jeff has some very interesting insight that I would like to share.

I think the best way to tell you about how a dog and prisoner interact in a prison cell, is to just relate what Jeff said in his letters. He began this program in early 2012. I had told him – when he was telling me about it – that I am sure dozens of prisoners are going to want to do it. His answer was, “believe it or not, very few are interested. They like dogs, like to play, feed, and pet them but don’t love them enough, where they want to live with them, clean up  behind them or groom them.”  Jeff said it is a full time job, from 5:30 AM until 10:30 AM, seven days a week and he said very few prisoners are dedicated to it.

Jeff loves dogs, always had them before prison, so this is something he loves. The first dog he was given was a 9-week-old purebred black lab puppy.  Jeff relates:

“This dog of mine is a shadow even to wanting to get in the shower with me and gives me dirty looks when I make him sit or lay outside until I am done. I’m up 3-5 times a night with him to do his duty.  My dog has learned a few commands so far, but he thinks it’s a game and wants to play all the time. When I stop the playing he must learn it is a partnership between me and him and I am boss! But he is so clumsy and comical. At the same time we got a couple other dogs that were abused and under nourished so we got them ready to go back out. It’s sad how anyone could abuse such a lovable and dedicated dogs as these.”

Jeff was telling me that the owners were coming to see how the dogs perform. As Jeff stated:

“I was very embarrassed, as all [dog's name] did was cry the whole time and when it came to us for a demonstration he did nothing! Whether it was stage fright and a room full of strange people and dogs, who knows. I took him down to the VP [visiting park] two days later and he preformed like a champion for the sergeant over the dog program. My dog was taken out 3 weeks ago for socialization so I don’t know if I’ll see him again. We clicked good together. The first set of dogs were with the guys from puppies for 18 months. Now they rotate the dogs every 4 months, so once you bond to a dog, he or she is gone!”

English: Golden Retriever dog (canis lupus fam...

Golden Retriever dog (canis lupus familiaris), resting. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Next Jeff had a “female yellow lab for several months that was then taken to team training to try to get her placed with an autistic child. At team training the prospective people who are to get the dogs are with the dog and trainers to get used to them and obey the new prospective owners.” Jeff was told, “about 65% make it (dogs trained in prison) and the rest wash out of the program and go as partially trained pets to veterans or as comfort dogs to places who need them.”

The yellow lab is gone and now came a male Golden Retriever, 17 months old and 95 lbs. This is what Jeff said:

“Thank God he doesn’t pull on the leash! He’s a lover and live teddy bear. He’s been with a puppy raiser the whole time and they taught him next to nothing, so at his age now it will be interesting to see what he will learn. I don’t think he even got out to play as he didn’t even know what a ball was or how to play with other dogs. These last 10 days he’s having lots of fun playing with the other dogs here, chasing and retrieving balls, playing tug with me and other dogs. It has really changed his personality. I think all he did was eat and lay up in the AC before. His ears were so dirty you could plant a garden in them and lots of fur balls and knots all over him. However, this dog is a lot of fun but he is quite possessive. Can’t be out of his sight more than a minute or two or he starts to bark.”

That Golden Retriever has gone on to better things and now Jeff has another one.

“A beautiful, deep reddish blonde Golden Retriever, he is 18 months old – who makes me miss and appreciate my last dog. This dog is loving and beautiful but one pain in the butt. He was with a puppy raiser for 17 months, then spent 2 months at another prison, with its trainers 1 week, then on to me. This dog is super hyper[active], always pacing up, off and under the bed constantly and always into something. He seems to never run out of gas and sleep. I was on the phone the other day and came back and he ate a dirty sock and part of a cleaning sponge with Ajax and bleach on it. Needless to say he got a good cleaning out for about 3 1/2 days. He’s about 80 lbs and pulls on the leash like a freight train and lunges at birds constantly. My arms should be about 2 inches longer by now. He has already chewed through 4 leashes. When I open the kennel, he runs under the bed and I need to drag him out. And when you correct him, he just glares and leers at you and pays no attention, though he does do his basic commands. I can tell by his habits that whoever had him was gone all day as a bowl of food and water will last all day and he only picks at it but after 5:00 pm he eats and drinks like crazy. Also the way he jumps on the bed and wants to sleep when I’m not around tells me he did the same and was allowed to where he was those 17 months. He will definitely be a challenge and test of patience.”

Jeff H.

South FL Prison

[Editor's Note: For more on this, go here, here or here. -- BitcoDavid]

Pat Bliss is a retired paralegal in criminal law. She continues to do legal work for indigent prisoner cases showing innocence. She is a Certified Community Chaplain, Certified as a volunteer for CISM (Crises Intervention Stress Management) and involved in community events.

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How to Promote Early Reading Acquisition: First Promote ASL

By Jean F. Andrews

XO Sign Language

XO Sign Language (Photo credit: Wayan Vota)

Reading continues to be one of the major obstacles for deaf adults in obtaining their Constitutional Rights. Reading court and legal documents is next to impossible. Even with a sign language interpreter the concepts are difficult to grasp.

In the ivory tower the debate is whether the reading process is qualitatively similar or qualitatively different than for hearing children. While the jury is still out on this theoretical argument, the reality is that the majority of deaf adults are busy learning two languages throughout their lives.

Learning sign language

Learning sign language (Photo credit: daveynin)

ASL is typically acquired quickly and English – reading and writing – is learned as it is mediated by the visual ASL. This ASL to English process happens too late for many deaf adults. An early ASL /English program is one answer to ensuring early reading acquisition.

Jean F. Andrews is a Reading Specialist and Department Chair of Deaf Studies/Deaf Education at Lamar University.

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Evergreen Dog Bites Baby

By BitcoDavid

This story has nothing to do with our stated mission, but I’m a dog lover who grew up in Evergreen, Co., and I can’t let a national story about both – in synchronicity – go unnoticed.

Of course, in my day, there was no 4700 block of Pine Road. In fact, I don’t think there was a Pine Road at all. When I lived there, Evergreen sported one traffic light. The town is not without its celebrity however. It was the home of John Hinckley, the man who attempted assassinating Ronald Reagan. It was also featured in the Ashley Judd film, Double Jeopardy.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

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Song Tells Felix’s Suffering

By Pat Bliss

Heather Hardy is one of the individuals who wrote our petition for Felix Garcia’s pardon. She recently completed recording the song she wrote to accompany that petition. She is currently seeking an interpreter to facilitate the production of a video of the song, which we will publish here, upon its completion. Until that time, here is the mp3 - audio only – version of the song. Below, find the embedded Word document containing the lyrics.


 

Pat Bliss is a retired paralegal in criminal law. She continues to do legal work for indigent prisoner cases showing innocence. She is a Certified Community Chaplain, Certified as a volunteer for CISM (Crises Intervention Stress Management) and involved in community events.

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Terrell Brittain Advocates for Deaf Renters

By Jean F. Andrews

Deaf people are treated unfairly by housing leasing staff, according to a front-page story in the Houston ChronicleJanuary 27, 2014 by news reporter Jayme Fraser. In fact, office managers are reported to have rudely hung up on deaf inquirers who call in using relay interpreters. Why is this situation still happening in this era of Civil Rights and the American with Disabilities Act? Fraser further reports that the National Fair Housing Alliance organization is collecting cases where more deaf people, seeking housing, were treated unfairly. Fraser interviews Terrell Brittain, a young, articulate deaf professional who has a master’s degree in Deaf Education, and is currently employed as a professor of American Sign Language Interpretation at the University of Houston. Brittain recounts his bad experiences and rude treatment when trying to contact leasing office staff, both while he was in college as well as now – as a professional. Fraser quotes Harold Rosenblum, CEO of the National Association for the Deaf who attributes this case and others to “a problem with poor training.”

Poor staff training is only the tip of the iceberg. The problem is much deeper. While Brittain’s treatment by the leasing office staff was inexcusable and illegal, fortunately for Brittain, he has the communication skills and education to confront the leasing officials in order to clearly articulate this complaint. Many deaf adults seeking housing are not as fortunate. These deaf adults are functionally illiterate. They are the victims of a poor educational system that postponed their exposure to a visually based sign language and failed to teach them to read and write. Consequently, many are underemployed or unemployed.

They have difficulty articulating their needs and seeking their Constitutional Rights. Many of these deaf adults get caught up in the criminal justice system and are unable to defend themselves because they do not have the background knowledge or communication skills to work with an attorney and understand their trial.  If you go to Huntsville State Prison and interview deaf inmates there, you will find out what Dr. Katrina Miller, professor of Rehabilitation counseling at Emporia State University, found out in her study of 99 Deaf Prisoners in Huntsville State prison.

Dr. Miller found that many deaf inmates incarcerated there, told her they did not have interpreters during their trials and do not know why they are in prison. Unlike Terrell Brittain, who can communicate his complaint and seek a legal resolution, many deaf adults struggle to obtain their Constitutional Rights with more serious consequence than no roof over their heads; they can face a life behind bars.

Jean F. Andrews is a Reading Specialist and Department Chair of Deaf Studies/Deaf Education at Lamar University.

[Editor's note: You may notice something different in Dr. Andrews' bio. She is now the Chair of her department. Please join DeafInPrison.com in congratulating Dr. Andrews on this well deserved promotion. --BitcoDavid]

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Event: HEARD’s 3rd Aniversary Bash

By BitcoDavid

HEARD will be celebrating its 3rd year, on Tuesday, February 18th at 6:30 PM, Eastern. The event will be held at D.C. Public Library, Tenley-Friendship Branch, 4901 V Street NW. There will be speakers, a new class of interns announced and the Al Jazeera documentary will be screened. Embedded below is the FaceBook invitation page.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

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My Insperation

By BitcoDavid

Derrick Coleman is the first Deaf NFL player. He has been featured in inspirational commercials, and has helped bring the Seattle Seahawks to the Superbowl against the Denver Broncos. Here’s a letter written to Mr. Coleman by a young girl.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

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Friends for the Friendless

By BitcoDavid

What if there were a program that benefited the disabled community, cut down on prison recidivism, and rescued animals? Oh wait, there is. A number of states are now exploring programs where inmates can care for and train adopted service dogs.

In one example, C.H.A.M.P. Assistance Dogs Inc. has partnered with Missouri Department of Corrections and placed dogs at Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center (WERDCC), in Vandalia, Missouri. The dogs go from local shelters to an 8 to 10 week training program at the facility. There, these animals live with and accompany the women in their day to day activities while being trained in all aspects of life as a service dog. Staff members visit the prison once a week to evaluate the dogs. Successful inmates are rewarded with the opportunity to take on more dogs.

The Prison Pet Partnership of Tacoma, Washington has as their mission statement, one single sentence: Prison Pet Partnership enriches the lives of inmates, homeless animals and the community through the human-animal bond.

I got this quote off the Florida DOC‘s Web Site:

The dogs featured on this web site were trained for eight weeks at prisons in Florida by state inmates, who were themselves trained by a professional dog trainer, in the hopes that they may find gainful employment in animal services when released from prison. The dogs were taught how to sit, stay, come and walk to the left and slightly behind their owner. They are housebroken and crate trained, and have all their shots. They’ve been spayed or neutered and many are microchipped. Costs for the dogs range from $45 to $155 depending on program type, length of training and whether they were already spayed or neutered.

Florida actually has a number of programs in place, training both service dogs and companion animals. These programs are available to inmates of both genders, in facilities throughout the state. Colorado offers the training of companion animals that are not  service dogs through their prison industrialization program – CCI (Colorado Corrections Industries).

The success of these programs, for both the animals and the inmates is well documented. Besides the long known advantages afforded any individual by bonding with an animal, inmates may prove to be even better suited to working with abandoned animals. After all, who can understand what it’s like be unwanted, better than an inmate?

This kind of experience gives inmates a leg up in the world after their release, because they have developed a professional – and in demand – skill. It also teaches people who may have never had to provide care to another life, how to do so. But, perhaps the most important aspect of these programs, from the point of view of the inmate, is it provides a friend in a place where friendship is rare. Just knowing that somebody is tail-waggingly awaiting your return to your cell, may be just the morale boost required to turn a broken life around.

November 2013 — Prince Charming was donated to the program by an owner who no longer wanted him. He was a little on the obnoxious side. You see, he was not neutered when he came to the program. Neutering made Prince Charming a new dog. His new ability to concentrate soon sent Prince to the head of the class. He was adopted by an exceptional couple who resides in California. When he isn’t traveling all over the United States with his family, he is entertaining the kids in the park or nursing home with his large repetoire of tricks. Prince Charming now adds a new sparkle to the lives of nursing home residents. He has earned his licensed therapy dog title. — CCI

The dogs don’t always go work in the outside world. Florida also has a program at the Miami-Dade Juvenile Detention Center, revolving around Therapy Dog, Justice. The rescued Black Lab is used as a calming influence on troubled Teens, and time alone with Justice is offered as positive reinforcement. The program has been markedly successful. The HART Program at Wakulla CI, gives Heartworm positive dogs a place to recover and rehabilitate.

In researching this article, I was stunned by the number of programs of this nature, in operation today. That being said, I can’t think of anything more beneficial to all concerned, and have to wonder why there aren’t many, many more.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Event: HEARD Hosts Panel on Junius Wilson

By BitcoDavid

In Nowhere Man in a Nowhere Land, by Jean F. Andrews, we told the story of Junius Wilson. He was a Deaf, Black man living in the Jim Crow South. He spent 76 years in the State Hospital for the Colored Insane - wrongfully charged with rape.

On February 11th, HEARD and the Disability Law Society will host a lunchtime panel event featuring speakers familiar with Mr. Wilson and his story. Susan Birch, author of the book Unspeakable, and others will be speaking and answering discussion questions.

Location is the Washington College of Law – room 503, and the time is Noon on February 11th (a Tuesday).

I for one, wish I could be in attendance. It strikes me as a must see event.

Below is the HEARD invite as a PDF embed.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Resolutions

By BitcoDavid

As a full third of Americans hunker down and prepare for Armageddon Storm 2014, I thought I might talk about some of my New Years resolutions. Now, I’m not a big resolution guy. I find that people tend to hit the ground running, but lose steam after about a month or so, leaving the resolution to gather dust in the basement, next to the treadmill and the Ab Buster. Conversely, I think if developing a specific habit is desired, it can be started anytime, and there is no need to await a new year. That  being said, we constantly reinvent and reapply ourselves, and Jan 2 is as good a time as any, to again pick up the bit, dig in our heels and renew our commitments.

First and foremost of course, would be Felix. I have no control over the plethora of factors effecting Felix’s release, but I can renew my commitment to his cause. We have only 300 more signatures to go, before we can send Felix’s petition off to my 2 favorite Republicans, Pam Bondi and Rick Scott. At the same time, Pat Bliss and a Pro Bono attorney are working on a clemency hearing for Felix. In fact, Pat should be returning from Florida soon, and hopefully she’ll have some news for us. In the meantime, we at DeafInPrison.com can double down and continue writing about Felix and his case, and keep beating the drum for you – our readers – to sign his petition.

Then there’s ASL. I would like to be conversational by this time next year. In fact, assuming that Dr. Twersky Glasner has another symposium this year, I’d like to be able to enjoy my lunch while signing away like a pro. No more banishment to the Hearie Table – population 1. I can learn to sign one-handed, so I can eat veggie wraps with the other.

De Niro in Raging Bull. Image: Andy's Film Blog

De Niro in Raging Bull. Image: Andy’s Film Blog

Of course some resolutions are more personal. I want to get better at inside fighting, and keeping my guard up on attack. I stay in pocket well, when I’m on the defensive, but I tend to drop my guard when I move in for a combination. And this coming Summer, I’d like to run a few more races than I did last year. 3 short years from the staring window, and I’m a boxer and a runner. Not bad huh? I think I’m the oldest guy at my gym.

Anyway, we have our work cut out for us. Happy New Year, and I wish us all success in 2014. Let’s make this the year that was.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

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Happy Saturnalia to All

By BitcoDavid

Joyce Edmiston is the owner of Xpressive Handz Blog. She has been a contributor to both the Stop Hearing Loss Bullying, and the Keep ASL in Schools videos. She is also a posting member of our FaceBook Group, ASL Learners by DeafInPrison.com.

Yesterday, she posted this video. It’s the perfect Christmas gift, Diabetically sweet. Add a puppy, and it would actually rot your teeth.

Enjoy.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Given the Givens – An Out of the Park Homerun

By BitcoDavid

Al_Jazeera_English_Doha_Newsroom

Al Jazeera America’s Newsroom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night was part I of Al Jazeera’s documentary on Deaf inmates, featuring Felix, Pat Bliss, Talila Lewis and Jim Ridgeway. Part II will air tonight at 9:00 pm Eastern. It was so much fun for me to see people – many of whom I know, but have never actually met – and to finally put faces to some of these names. It was also a joy to see beautiful and eloquent signers employing their art, even if only briefly.

Before I address the complaints I’ve heard, I’d like to point out that Felix’s petition has received a full half dozen new signatures immediately after the showing. We’re up above 700 now. We are the longest lived and most signed petition in the Felix Garcia case, since Jim Ridgeway did the original story in Mother Jones. While 6 signatures doesn’t sound like a lot, it is actually a huge spike in activity, where we commonly go several weeks between single signatures. DeafInPrison.com also got a needed spike in reads, even though we were never directly mentioned in the show.

Logo of the network

Logo of the Al Jazeera network (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have heard some people say that the overall segment, and its individual portions were too short. I agree, but I understand the nature of television. A single minute of airtime – even on a smaller market source like Al Jezeera – costs a king’s ransom. I have never seen an interview or news story that I felt really got the airtime it deserved.

While only the Sign segments were captioned, Talila Lewis of HEARD assures me that they are in contact with the producers to address that situation. From my own experience in producing and editing videos, I can tell you that it was probably a simple oversight. The two nemeses of creative content are money and time. Nobody ever makes the video they want, but rather the video they can.  I’m sure future versions of the report will be captioned. Also, the show was broadcast in SAP, and Closed Captioning through the broadcaster’s traditional system was available.

Lastly of course was the fact that this excellent and informative mini-doc was shown on Al Jezeera. Some people have problems with them because of their Arab affiliation. I don’t really get that, but it’s sort of an Arab = Muslim = Terrorist kind of thinking. Who are the Arabs to tell us about problems in American prisons? After all, theirs have dirt floors and floggings. To that, I will say this. I have contacted American media. I have sent press releases, e-mails and even used the phone. I have never even received as much as a reply. While American media obsessively reports on the Duck Rednecks, and Obama‘s selfie, only Al Jezeera is willing to cover this desperate issue. For that, I laud them – towels on their heads or no.

Rear-Window Captioning system

Rear-Window Captioning system (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I only had one problem with the whole thing. While talking about some of Felix’s agonies in prison, and discussing the isolation felt by the Deaf inmate – they withheld the fact of his innocence. I wish they had gone further into that aspect of Felix’s story. They mentioned that he has been inside for 32 years, and that he still has 12 to go, but they never stated that he is an innocent man.

In all however, I really enjoyed seeing people who I consider friends – but have never actually met – and feeling like an insider. I enjoyed the report and look forward to tonight’s conclusion. I give it 4 stars, and like I said in the title – an out of the park homer.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Back From the Dead

By BitcoDavid

Well, I’m back. For the past 2 weeks or so, I’ve been in Dante’s 9th circle of network upgrades. We now have a full terabyte – 4 processor hive for editing videos, and a domain controller running our 10 pcs in Active directory. I finally have my own registered domain name – BitcoDavid.com.

So we’ll be able to produce higher quality videos at a much faster rate, provide scripted hosting for files and applets that can’t be hosted on WordPress, run chats and online events and provide direct Internet access to large private files.

Anyway, I’m very sorry for the long hiatus in posting. A lot has been going on in the worlds of both the Deaf and the incarcerated, and now that all the hardware is back up to snuff, we’ll be renewing our commitment to regular posting and to providing our readers with up to the minute and original content.

In the meantime, Here’s Jimmy Kimmel‘s translation of what Thamsanqa Jantjie was really saying at Mandela’s funeral, and SNL’s take on the story as well.

***

More posts to come. It’s good to be back.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

3-D printing in hearing aid technology

By Supporter Contributor Melisa Marzett

[Editor's note: DeafInPrison.com welcomes Melisa Marzett to our team as our newest supporter contributor. -- BitcoDavid]

3-D printing is a technology that makes many people plunge into thoughts. Most people are surprised when they first hear about 3-D printing, and they can’t imagine how it works. The most common idea is that it is like a replicator from Star Trek, reproducing virtually any object – including food – in a few seconds.

Unlike a Star Trek replicator, 3-D printing technology is much more understandable, and in fact very similar to common technologies such as inkjet printing. The construction using 3-D printing is based on gradually adding more and more material until the object has the desired shape. Typically, the material is added creating vertical layers above one another, from the bottom to the top. This layering can actually take several hours.

One of the strongest points of the 3-D printing industry, is its ability to take individual and exclusive orders and do them immediately. These orders would otherwise be expensive, if not altogether impossible to fabricate. Thus, no wonder that the healthcare sector is one of the devoted customers of 3-D printing. Nowadays, 3-D printers create many objects used in medicine including recently developed hearing aids.

The hearing aid can not really replace one of the basic human senses. Each of us has a little change in the formation of the outer ear canal, so mass production of such an individualized device seems impossible.

However, three scientists from the Danish company Widex producing hearing aids, recieved a European Prize for their pioneering work on CAMISHA (Computer-Aided Manufacturing of Individual Shells for Hearing Aids). With the help of 3-D scanning of the ear and 3-D printing, they created the customized hearing aid, ITE.

First, liquid silicone is injected into the ear canal of the patient, in order to form the ideal shape of the ear. Once dry, the form is extracted and scanned using 3-D scanner to convert it into a 3D model. Next, the 3-D model is imported into the CAD model, and is sent to the 3-D printer. Once the hearing aids are printed, the IC that processes and amplifies the sound is inserted into the shell. And, finally, you have it – the most accurately manufactured and customized hearing aid in the world!

According to CNN, this technology of (CAMISHA), is so effective that 95% of the world’s ITE hearing aids use this method of production.

Today over 10 million 3-D printed hearing aids are available on the world market. And of course we don’t have to wait a week for a new hearing aid. A 3-D printer manufactured hearing aid is ready within one day! In fact the technology is even easier now. Within 90 minutes, 65 hearing aid shells are produced by a 3-D printer.

It seems obvious that the prices should eventually come down. Still, the process of creating 3-D printed hearing aids remains costly for manufactures. For instance, the price for a printer capable of creating hearing aids is between $20000 and $150000. Thus, it is hard to say if we can expect low prices for magic hearing aids.

No doubt, the future of the healthcare industry is in 3-D printing. We are witnesses of a wonder! Hopefully, in several years every Deaf and HoH person will be able to afford a 3-D printed hearing aid.

Melisa Marzett works on such topics as healthcare, technology and innovations. Follow Melisa on Google. Her other essays can be found at  best essay writing service.

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