Happy Thanksgiving and Thank You for Reading Us

By BitcoDavid

We’ve been super busy – behind the scenes – here at DeafInPrison.com, so we haven’t been posting as much as I would like. But rest assured that we’re working hard on several projects that will end up as enjoyable and informative content for you – our precious readers. I did however, want to take a minute away from the grind, to wish you all a happy Thanksgiving, and to give my thanks to you – all of you – for the past year and a half’s support and succor. DeafInPrison.com

Felix will be spending yet one more Thankgsiving - alone - in Tomoka.

Felix will be spending yet one more Thanksgiving – alone – in Tomoka.

wouldn’t be what it is, without you.

During today’s festivities, let’s also take a minute to think about those of us for whom this day will most assuredly not be a happy one. The roughly 4 million of us who find themselves – wrongfully or rightfully – on the wrong side of the barbed wire. When the innocent go to prison it’s a travesty, and a tragedy. When the guilty go, it is as punishment, not for punishment. Nelson Mandela said, “No one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”

But if you’re Deaf, and in prison – then on this holiday and all others, you are truly alone.

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.

It Takes Time to be an ASL/English Bilingual

By Jean F. Andrews

The sign for Learn. Image: Lifeprint

Learning ASL and English does not happen quickly. It takes time as do all first language and second language learning. Delays in language learning is a fact in many deaf persons’ lives. But it does not have to be. Being deaf does not cause a language delay. It is the lack of access to language in the environment that causes the language delay. According to many studies, having Deaf parents who sign as well as accept their child’s deafness provide the best environment for language learning. According to Dr. David Geeslin, bilingual/bicultural environments that are set up in classrooms replicate the same home environment that Deaf parents provide. In his study at the Indiana School for the deaf, he found that it takes seven or more years for deaf children of hearing parents to show academic growth on standardized achievement tests.

Many Deaf inmates typically have language histories that show they were not signing until junior high or even high school.  Such delays in sign exposure severely restrict their abilities to use an interpreter when working with their attorney or understanding the courtroom proceedings. Simply put, they don’t have the language skills nor the conceptual and world knowledge base accumulated by hearing children through hours and even years of  parent, teacher and peer conversations.

Some prisons have a critical mass of deaf prisoners and have created their own bilingual/bicultural communities within the prisons. But these are few. Judges often ask defense lawyers, how can you get your deaf client linguistically competent to stand trial? An easy answer is; it takes time to be an ASL/English Bilingual.

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

Felix Garcia’s Story: Part 4 in the Series

By Pat Bliss

[Editor's note: This is the 4th installation in our series on the Felix Garcia case. In this segment, Ms. Bliss presents more of the testimony, and points out the contradictions. It is presented in embedded format, and can be viewed in full screen by clicking the link at the bottom. -- 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.

Felix’s Story Serialized Pt. 2

By Pat Bliss

BitcoDavid has been working hard on reformatting these sequences of Felix’s story into PDF files. I hope you enjoy this second installment in our combined effort.

Be sure and check out Felix’s petition. We need your help, freeing this innocent Deaf man.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/453/783/026/felix-garcia-should-be-granted-a-full-pardon

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.

H.E.A.R.D. Public Meeting Event Next Week

By BitcoDavid

http://www.behearddc.org/

Logo image Courtesy of HEARD

Interns will present on their projects involving deaf possibly wrongfully convicted individuals, deaf prisoners & about lobbying the FCC for telecommunication access equality.

Guest organizations: Council for Court Excellence & the Corrections Information Council

We will be in the Library–>LCB112

There are shuttles to/from NoMa and Union Station Metros to Gallaudet University Campus: http://www.gallaudet.edu/Transportation/Shuttle_Bus_Services/Continuous_Shuttle_Schedule.html

Here’s the link to their FaceBook Event page, and this event will also be listed on our Events 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.

H.P. Lovecraft Couldn’t Make This Up

By Pat Bliss

A 1934 issue of Weird Tales, the magazine in which first appeared H.P. Lovecraft's Gothic chiller, Rats in the Walls. Photo: Wikipedia

A 1934 issue of Weird Tales, the magazine in which first appeared, H.P. Lovecraft’s Gothic chiller, Rats in the Walls. Photo: Wikipedia

this is an excerpt from a 26 page letter that I received from a Deaf inmate. It was his story about going to medical, that I last posted. He is in solitary confinement now, for trying to help another inmate. Rather than going into all the details of that, I felt I wanted to share this particular portion of the letter with you.

Further, this place is infested with the mice and rats that I told you about before. In fact its more infested with mice and rats since the last time I told you about it. They have had time to breed. Its so full of mice and rats that you have to stay awake when the lights go out or they will actually crawl up on the bunk with you.

They [the cells] have foot lockers bolted to the walls that set higher then the bottom bunk that almost level with the top bunk that these mice and rats will climb up on, run along the foot lockers and jump off in the bunk where you are laying.

   

Splinter in the 2008 season of TMNT

Splinter in the 2008 season of TMNT (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Me and my cell partner stay up all night when the lights are out to see how many we can kill. We have rat killings. We will take one each of my boots which are heavy and will sit off on the bunk. Be real quiet. Wait for them to start coming in and see if we can hit them with a boot and kill them. So far I have gotten at least one each night. They are quick, I’ll say that for them. Hell, last night I thought I had two I got one then a little while later this one comes off in here. I throughed [throwed] the boot at him he turned sideways from where I hit him. About this time they [DOC] turned the lights on, he was only stunned. I picked up the boot went to hit him with it again. The SOB hunched up his back raised his front two paws and had the hair on this back standing straight up. I thought of Master Splinter the Rat off of Nija Turtles!!
  

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.

The Things We Take for Granted

By Pat Bliss

I Need a Doctor

I Need a Doctor Photo: Wikipedia

 

I get many letters from prisoners that just say they had to go to see a doctor or to medical for some reason. But in this one instance, a deaf prisoner in one of Florida’s prisons gave me an in-depth look as to what a prisoner goes through just to be there for a doctor appointment. These are his words:

I have been on call-out so much with medical with test after test. Seriously I am told to get up at 2:00 A.M. for a blood test, I come back [to my dorm] around 3:00 A.M. Am given a call-out to the main unit for 7:00 A.M. I get on a bus to go the main unit. Sit there to around 1:00 P.M. or 2:00 P.M. to see the Doctor. And do not get on a bus to come back to my dorm until 9:30 P.M. to 1:30 A.M. Any time between 9:00 P.M. to 1:30 A.M.  is when I am put on the bus to come back to my dorm. Several days in a row I have had this process repeat itself with these same time frames. So I have not hardly any sleep at all let alone had time to do anything like read a book. I catch pure hell just trying to get a shower and a hour or two of sleep here and there.

I would say we have nothing to complain about, out here in society when we have to wait a couple hours, if that. It struck me how frustrating it is to be a prisoner. No books, magazines or TV provided to help wile away the time while waiting your turn to see the doctor. Couple that with being deaf – and all that that involves.

– Pat Bliss

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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