DeafInPrison.com Celebrates 50,000 Views!!!

By BitcoDavid

Congratulations to us – DeafInPrison.com – who just received our 50 thousandth view! Of course all of you helped, but it was DoTheWriteThingTampa, who drove home the golden spike. In addition to the link on this post, they will get one on the sidebar as well. Thanks guys, your support is greatly appreciated.

And to everybody else who’s made DeafInPrison.com a reality – our awesome contributors, our supporter contribs and guests, and all our worldwide readers – an extra special animated gif thank you, too!

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.

Does Your Health Insurance Cover Hearing Aids?

By BitcoDavid

Hearing aid

Hearing aid (Photo credit: Soitiki)

I just learned that only 2 states out of 50 have laws mandating hearing aid coverage. Even so, those laws are ridden with loopholes allowing insurance companies leeway in opting out of providing the coverage. An entry level hearing aid, the Siemens Motion 300, costs 16,00 bucks. A top of the line model can go as high as 3,000. And that’s for each ear.

Cynthia Dixon, who writes 4 eyes, 4 ears, and has been so helpful to DeafInPrison.com, informs me that many HoH adults are forced to turn to vocational rehab, in the hopes that they will provide what health insurance won’t.

English: U.S. Health Insurance Status (Under 65)

U.S. Health Insurance Status (Under 65) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A member of the FaceBook group, Deaf and Hard of Hearing – Kat Pol, is endeavoring to start a letter writing campaign to bring awareness of this issue to the public and legislators.

DeafInPrison.com supports this effort. Like so much else in the world of Health Care, the ability to hear and communicate should be treated as a basic Human right, and not a privilege of wealth.

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.

DeafInPrison rough in Britain, Too

By BitcoDavid

This article was brought to our attention by Handeyes from PEOPLE OF THE EYE. It originally appeared in Charlie Swinbourne’s Limping Chicken. According to research by the Howard League for Penal Reform, the British penal system is unable to meet the needs of Deaf inmates, and as a result, these inmates are not getting the rehabilitation services afforded their hearing counterparts. The report titled, Not hearing us: An exploration of the experience of deaf prisoners in English and Welsh prisons by Daniel McCullough, was sponsored by the Howard League.

Mountjoy Prison, the main committal prison in ...

Mountjoy Prison, the main committal prison in the Republic of Ireland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Limping Chicken reports:

Some deaf prisoners interviewed as part of the research claimed to have had trouble accessing employment, education courses and behaviour classes in prison because of issues relating to their disability.

Others said they were concerned about their safety in the event of a fire because they would be unable to hear an alarm and would be unsure of what to do. Some deaf prisoners feel lonely and isolated because of difficulties communicating with other inmates, as well as family members and legal services outside of prison.

In this report, McCullough writes of a partial justice system, referring to the inequity of treatment for the Deaf. He makes reference to Shrewsbury Prison, where inmates and guards are both offered BSL courses, as a model by which other British prisons can benchmark.

English: Frances Crook OBE. Director, the Howa...

Frances Crook OBE. Director, the Howard League for Penal Reform. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Howard League CEO, Frances Crook said, “The Howard League legal team has represented young deaf prisoners who have experienced difficulties in participating in the prison regime because their needs were ignored and misunderstood both in state prisons and in private jails. This research should spark a reconsideration of the services provided to the deaf inside penal institutions. It is unacceptable that organs of the state and commercial prisons fail to comply with equalities legislation.” — LC

The 44 page report is available for download, but a login is required. Here’s that link:

http://www.howardleague.org/publications-not-hearing-us/

and here’s the link to Limping Chicken’s original coverage:

http://limpingchicken.com/2013/01/16/deaf-news-prison-service-failing-to-meet-the-needs-of-deaf-prisoners-research-finds/

DeafInPrison.com is grateful to them for allowing us to reblog this story, and grateful to Handeyes for bringing it to our attention.

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.

When One Hand Refuses to Wash the Other

By BitcoDavid

I was asked, the other day, why DeafInPrison.com – a site dedicated to the plight of the Deaf inmate – reports on such a diverse palette of issues. We cover the School to Prison Pipeline, Prison Reform, solitary confinement, mental health issues, Women in prison, the drug war, prison gangs, prison rape, wrongful conviction, Deaf culture and even stories about Angela McCaskill and Taylor Swift – to name just a few.

My initial answer was simply, “we need content.” And that’s true. In fact, I could go in a tech direction with this post, and give you 1000 words on why content – any content – is so essential to the success of a Blog site. But, yesterday, I watched a video from Penn Law about pregnancy in prison. It was an eye-opener for me, but less so for its actual content than for what it didn’t say.

What occurred to me, watching this wonderfully crafted and enlightening documentary, was that all these issues are connected. Life doesn’t occur in a vacuum, and one can’t take one specific issue and try to effect change without looking at all the other issues that act upon it as contributors or agonists.

Let’s take for example, the abuse cycle. Although some Deaf would argue the point, abuse does indeed take place in a percentage of Deaf families. Imprisonment follows abuse like the tail on a dog. So in order to effectively address the issue of Deaf imprisonment, we must address the issue of Deaf domestic abuse. And if we’re going to do that, we’re going to end up learning about domestic abuse as a whole.

English: A collage of Deaf people, both histor...

A collage of Deaf people, both historical and contemporary. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Deaf community represents a sector of the American population – for that matter, the World’s population – and a significant social group. Therefore it follows that an equivalent number of Deaf would be behind bars. It’s no secret that the prison population has exploded in numbers over the last 4 decades, ergo, the number of incarcerated Deaf has increased accordingly. That’s simple arithmetic. But unless we take a close look at why that population has increased so dramatically, we’ll never be able to offer any assistance or succor to those members who happen to be Deaf. In short, they’re Deaf and they’re in prison, but that situation – and their heightened struggle – is symptomatic, not causal.

English: ASL sign I-LOVE-YOU (wikt:en:ILY@Side...

Maybe we can make a concerted effort to start using this 3 fingered sign for I love you, more often then we use the 1 fingered sign we all know too well. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The problems go much deeper, and effect far greater segments of our population. Poverty, education, abuse, the drug war, our punishment crazed society – all these things and more, contribute to the suffering of the Deaf community lost within the Justice system.

Several of the women interviewed in the above mentioned video said the same thing. “They don’t tell you anything.” I know this to be true. Hearing or not, you’re arrested –  and the first thing you become aware of, is the lack of communication. Nobody in the system ever tells you anything. You’re cuffed up and moved from here to there. You stand (mute) in front of a judge, while a complete stranger speaks in a foreign language. Next, you’re cuffed up again and shuffled off to somewhere else. You can actually go days, even weeks with nobody telling you anything about what’s happening to you. We have reported on this phenomenon as it impacts the Deaf, but again, the issue isn’t one of having an interpreter present. The problem is much deeper. Police, prosecutors, judges, COs and Public Defenders should be far more forthcoming with information. This is true for all of us, and not just the Deaf.

Prison Industrial Complex #occupysanquentin

Prison Industrial Complex #occupysanquentin (Photo credit: @bastique)

It really comes down to what kind of society we want to be. Do we want to be a nation that tortures and abandons its weak, like mountain lions in the wilderness? Or do we want to be a nation that prides itself on its ability to forgive mistakes and rebuild broken people? Once we were known as the system that created the World’s  largest and most powerful middle class. Now, we’re the World’s jailer and we’re becoming known for creating the World’s largest but least powerful criminal class.

I’m committed to the idea of presenting those stories which I believe to be applicable to our stated cause, even where that applicability is difficult to see. I hope that we can serve as a place for education, enlightenment and aid. And I hope that people – Deaf and Hearing alike – can benefit from our work.

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.

Concern at a Distance

By Joanne Greenberg

In Lakewood, Colorado as in many other places in the United States, people are protesting the placement of schools and other facilities for the Deaf. They worry about increased traffic, and the lowering of property values. They fear danger from the pupils in those schools, or the recipients of those services.

”We have nothing against the Deaf,” they say, “but the school doesn’t belong here – or here, or here. Such a school would spoil the integrity of the neighborhood.“

I’ve already heard this complaint. About Black people, Jews and Hispanics.

English: Alameda High School in Lakewood, Colo...

Alameda High School in Lakewood, Colorado. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A society will create what it values. In this case, concern at a distance. The reality is, that dozens of studies of such intrusions, show us that when the “invaders” are welcomed, they serve to bond the community and result in improvement in property values and the stability of neighborhoods, the way schools, parks and other additions do.

A neighborhood near me accepted a group of at-risk boys in a residential center. The boys were under closer supervision from the school faculty, than home-raised children are. Their group leaders urged them to volunteer time and effort to help the neighbors around them. They became welcome presences in the community, shoveling snow and doing odd jobs for older people and shut-ins who needed their help. Friendships resulted. “The best neighbors you could have,” my friend told me. When the group wanted to expand, the new neighborhood picketed against them. Maybe a Wal-mart will come in for those fearful people.

English: Footprint of Walmart stores within th...

Footprint of Walmart stores within the United States. Areas with more than one branch have progressively larger points. Alaska not to scale with the rest of the map. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Joanne Greenberg was born in 1932, in Brooklyn, NY. She was educated at American University and received and honorary Doctorate from Gallaudet University – the world’s only college for the Deaf. She has written 2 books on the subject and has spent decades working with state mental hospitals for appropriate care for the mentally ill Deaf.

NAD Advocates for Deaf Youth in Foster Care

Length of stay in U.S. foster care

Length of stay in U.S. foster care. Picture credit: Wikipedia

In a recently published position paper, the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) has issued a position paper that targets the special care Deaf children require in foster care. According to the NAD paper, Deaf children require foster care that is both linguistically and culturally accessible, including appropriate medical, psychological, educational and mental health services. This position paper was intended to provide a road map for all professionals and agents who work within the foster care system to ensure the appropriate provision of referral and care services to Deaf children.

US Navy 070421-N-4124C-066 Sasebo-based Forwar...

US Navy 070421N Sailors hand out chocolate at the conclusion of a visit to the foster care facility, Koyoryo Children’s Home. Photo: Wikipedia

The NAD, a powerful advocacy organization by and for Deaf people has historically championed the rights of Deaf adults and youth. This recent position paper is evidence of their continued tradition of advocacy, social justice and equity. The NAD’s paper on Foster Care should be required reading for all social service, juvenile justice, early childhood, education, and parent agencies serving Deaf children and youth.

HEARD’s Writing Campaign

Want to help write sorely needed letters to Deaf inmates in prisons throughout America? Here’s your chance to help alleviate someone’s insufferable solitude.

Hello Fellow HEARD Supporters:
Its that time again, writing time. HEARD Board members and volunteers we will be gathering for a few hours to write to some of our Deaf inmates that are in prisons across the country. This month our focus will be our Deaf women and Deaf blind inmates. Please let us know if you would like to join us.
Please send HEARD an inbox message, or an email at info@behearddc.org. Please put Writing Campaign in the subject line.

Here’s the link to the FaceBook events page. It’s a public event – everyone can sign up.

http://www.facebook.com/events/227125900747195/

English: Supermax prison, Florence Colorado Es...

Supermax prison, Florence Colorado. Another town in Colorado, notorious for its overwhelming number of prisons, is Caňon City. It goes by the appellation – Jail-town USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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