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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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.

Felix Featured in Al Jazeera Documentary

By Pat Bliss

#JusticeForFelixThere has been a documentary in the works for a few years on the deaf in our prisons. It starts airing tonight on cables’  Al Jazeera America (AJA)  America Tonight at 9pm. It’ll be in Closed Caption. Felix will be highlighted in tonight’s segment, tomorrow will highlight other deaf. After the segment tonight Journalist James Ridgeway  will be in a Q & A session – he wrote the first article on Felix’s case for Mother Jones Magazine in 2011 online and in print 2012. After Friday’s segments Talila Lewis of HEARD will be doing the Q & A session.
If you don’t know you have AJA on your cable, check this web site, input your zip code and it’ll tell you the cable and channel number  http://america.aljazeera.com/tools/getajam.html


If you cannot get it, it will possibly be online on their website soon after : http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/america-tonight.html
 
Thank you. 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.

September at DeafInPrison.com

By BitcoDavid

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.

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.

Part 3 in the Serialization of Felix’s Case

By Pat Bliss

[Editor's Note: This is the 3rd embed in our series chronicling the trial of Felix Garcia. At this point, all the data that was previously published on the page, Blisshas now been made available in PDF embed format. We will begin reproducing the page, Bliss-2, and the series should be complete shortly. This particular section of the story is taken from transcripts of testimony, and is presented in block quote format, with a few notes by Ms. Bliss. Unfortunately, no graphics could be made available, while sticking to this strict format.

Hence, it makes for a somewhat difficult read, but it is well worth struggling through. Buried within this testimony is a great deal of information indicating Felix's innocence, the extent of the effort gone to, by his family, to frame him, and the bias of detectives and prosecutors against him. I found it to be a thoroughly fascinating read. -- 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.

Event: FCC Phone Rates Workshop, Wednesday July 10

By BitcoDavid

Image courtesy of H.E.A.R.D.

Image courtesy of H.E.A.R.D.

We have mentioned before, that Deaf inmates pay a much higher rate for phone service, than do hearing inmates. Furthermore, most facilities offer only the bare minimum in terms of usable telephone communication devices, to Deaf inmates. Add to this the fact that communications companies and the prison facilities themselves, profit off phone use by all inmates, and you can easily see why this is a problem that we need to address.

Below is a reprint of the FaceBook page regarding this event. Font emphases and additional links are mine. Here’s the FaceBook link. https://www.facebook.com/events/683795964980254/

People can attend in person, or view the entire event online. A link to the streamed event can be found in the text below.

The Federal Communications Commission has invited HEARD’s founder to speak about issues important to deaf and hard of hearing prisoners at the Reforming Inmate Calling Services Workshop that the FCC is hosting on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.

The workshop is free and open to the public. Please come show the FCC that we support equal access to telecommunications for deaf, signing, and hard of hearing prisoners and their families.

If you cannot attend in person, the FCC will live stream the workshop on its website at http://www.fcc.gov/events/workshop-reforming-inmate-calling-services-rates

From the FCC:

The all day workshop will focus, among other things, on the impact of current inmate calling services rates on inmates and their families, a review of state reforms of inmate calling services rates, and a discussion of the costs of providing inmate calling services and how to balance the needs of consumers and correctional facilities.

Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. The request should include a detailed description of the accommodation needed and contact information. Requests should be made as soon as possible in order to allow the agency to satisfy such requests whenever possible. Send an e-mail to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202.418.0530 (voice), 202.418.0432 (TTY).

For further information, contact Gregory Haledjian at 202.418.7440, or via e-mail at gregory.haledjian@fcc.gov.

Federal Communications Commission
Commission Meeting Room (TW-C305)
445 12 th Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20554

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.

Rockstar Talila Lewis Gets Op-Ed in Major Newspaper

By BitcoDavid

Talila Lewis from HEARD, wrote a piece that was featured in the South Florida Sun Sentinel. It’s an important article, because it singles out Tomoka – which is where Felix Garcia is unjustly serving time. Although this article refers to some horrible mistreatment of Deaf inmates, Felix has reported that he’s actually much happier there, than any of the other Florida institutions, at which he has been held, over his long 30 year incarceration.

Pat Bliss has informed me, that an unnamed Florida paper will also be covering Felix’s story, but that article has not yet been printed. She assures me that DeafInPrison.com will be the first to know, when it finally is published. In the meantime, be well Felix, we’re all behind you – and thank you so much Talila for this awesome op-ed. You rock!

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.E.A.R.D. Sends Letter to Editors of Major Fla. Papers

By BitcoDavid

Talila Lewis of Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deafcomposed and sent the following letter.

Dear Editor:

The abuse experienced by deaf prisoners housed in the Florida Department of Corrections defies imagination. Our most vulnerable prisoners–those who are deaf, deaf-blind, blind, elderly and mentally and physically disabled–are the victims of extreme violence and sexual abuse. This abuse has been reported to the governor, the current and former Department of Corrections secretaries, the Office of the Inspector General, and numerous wardens, corrections officers and counselors.  Yet still, terrible human & civil rights violations persist.

The Florida Department of Corrections (DOC) has systematically created a culture of fear and hopelessness for disabled prisoners.  The DOC’s failure to  provide adequate accommodations for and protections to this vulnerable population is beyond reproach.  Countless deaf prisoners, their family members, and advocates have expressed concern for the safety and well-being of these prisoners in Florida’s state prison facilities.  Many of Florida’s deaf prisoners, fearful of  brutal retaliation and assured of prison official’s apathy or complicity, have all but given up hope of ever living safe from fear of sexual and physical assault.  It is unclear the rationale behind the DOC’s unwillingness to address these concerns.

This past year, one deaf prisoner (he will remain unnamed to protect what remains of his “safety”) risked his life to report to the Office of the Inspector General, horrendous physical and sexual abuse of other prisoners with disabilities as well as other serious violations occurring at the prison. Though this prisoner’s complaint resulted in at least two officers being fired and numerous prisoners being transferred out of the facility, the Office of the Inspector General informed staff at Tomoka that this prisoner was responsible for lodging this “anonymous” complaint.  As a result of this breach of confidentiality, this prisoner’s life has been threatened by staff and prisoners at Tomoka.  Just last week, despite numerous requests from advocates not to send him back to this facility, the Florida Department of Corrections sent this prisoner back to what can only be described as a living hell for this man who sacrificed his own safety to protect others.  As of the writing of this letter, he has not been heard from by any of those community members with whom he consistently maintains contact.

The Florida Department of Corrections not only perpetuates human rights abuses against deaf prisoners, but it also fails to ensure adequate accommodations for deaf and deaf-blind prisoners pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act and other state and federal laws that exist to protect the rights of people with disabilities.

HEARD created and maintains the nation’s only Deaf and Deaf-Blind Prisoner Database.  This Database includes information on more than four hundred deaf and deaf-blind men and women, in thirty-eight states, the District of Columbia, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The abuses being reported out of Florida are by far, the worst that we have seen from across the nation.  Wardens, correctional officers and administrators, and  government officials must be held accountable for these abuses and for their failure to follow federal laws that protect people with disabilities.  These personnel should be aware that this sort of behavior will not be tolerated.

We have reported these abuses at every turn for nearly three years.  We have run out of options.  I hope this letter raises awareness about the horrors that people with disabilities and the elderly experience in the Florida prison system.  The Florida Department of Corrections actions and inactions are a mark of shame on the state and our nation.

To the citizens of Florida: You may decide to do nothing, but you can never again plead ignorance.

Hopeful,

Talila A. Lewis

Talila A. Lewis is the Founder of Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf (HEARD).  HEARD is a nonprofit civil rights organization that advocates for deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind prisoners across the nation.

Tomoka C.I. Image: Florida 13 News

Tomoka C.I. Image: Florida 13 News

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.

Digest Post – 4/5/13

By BitcoDavid

Well, our post-a-day streak was broken yesterday, but before you go thinking I dropped the ball, I want you to know I was busy drumming up some Supporter Contributions that will be going up this week.

Image courtesy of Pat Bliss

Image courtesy of Pat Bliss

In keeping with our editorial priority list, the first order of business in today’s digest post is a brief update on Felix’s case. From Pat Bliss:

Felix had a video interview by a
reporter from a major Florida newspaper, this week. His clemency
action is on track. He is now living in the Faith Dorm and is doing
quite well there.

I do wish I had a little more to report. Unfortunately, that’s all Ms. bliss sent. We have picked up a few new signatures on the petition site. This petition is still a necessary and powerful tool to help persuade Pam Bondi and the other members of Florida law enforcement – including Governor Scott, that Felix deserves the justice that has eluded him for the past 30+ years.

Attorney General Pam Bondi

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Please click the link – here – or on either of our sidebars, and sign this vital petition. Felix Garcia has served a lifetime in prison – a Deaf man – for a crime he has long since been proven not guilty of.

Again, here’s the link to our petition to grant Felix a full pardon.

***

In life – I believe – everybody searches for their own personal title fight. You go toe to toe with whoever or whatever comes along, but your end game is always that big fish. Everybody wants to bag the elephant. I use this to explain my ongoing love-hate relationship with the venerable Gray Lady - the New York Times. Now – I go to the Times for sources on posts, but there will come a day, when the Lady herself will not print a story without first checking DeafInPrison.com.

Anyway, directly from herself , comes this update on the Clements case.

But weeks after Mr. Clements’s killing, investigators are still trying
to sort out whether the death was in fact a gang-ordered hit or the act of a lone gunman whose years in solitary confinement may have nurtured paranoia and a hatred of prison officials.

One of the school's administrators - OJ Keller with the tools of the trade. Photo: White House Boys

OJ Keller holding his only two friends. Photo: White House Boys

They make mention of the fact that Clements was working on eliminating the use of solitary confinement in Colorado’s prison system – a fact that I find staggering in its irony. In every report I’ve read, Clements is described as a tireless reformer who has dedicated his career to making prison more humane for the inmates – the very opposite of a fire and brimstone – law and order type such as  O.J. Keller of the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys. An infamous, vicious torturer, and corrupt administrator.

In quoting James F. Austin, a consultant who worked with Clements in his efforts to improve Colorado’s prisons, the Times wrote, “This has just never happened before in the history of corrections,” Dr.
Austin said. “What would be the value of the gang doing that, except to
bring incredible heat both on and off the street?” He added that the gangs “like to do their thing without much attention,
especially with a director who is doing everything he could to make the
prison safer and more comfortable.” — NYT

But law enforcement officials said on Thursday that they could not rule out the possibility that Mr. Ebel — who died after he was wounded in a shootout and a chase with Texas police officers and sheriff’s deputies northwest of Dallas on March 21 — was acting on orders from the leaders of the 211 Crew.

A search is continuing for two members of the gang known to have had contact with Mr. Ebel recently, said Lt. Jeff Kramer, a spokesman for the El Paso County sheriff’s office in Colorado. He called the men, James Lohr, 47, and Thomas Guolee, 31, “persons of interest” but stopped short of saying they were suspects in the case. Both are also wanted on warrants for unrelated crimes, Lieutenant Kramer said, and are thought to be armed and dangerous.

Even in this great shot of the accident scene, no sign of a truck – or a trucker. Photo:NYT

And still, no word on the trucker whom Ebel t-boned in his 100mph escape attempt in Texas. A guy climbs into his rig one morning, and out of nowhere a psychopath driving what passes nowadays for a Cadillac, creams him. I’m just sayin’, it’d be nice to give him just one line, in the reams of coverage this story has gotten.

Here’s the story as covered by that other news source – the NYT.

***

 

Finally, a reminder that this coming Wednesday, H.E.A.R.D. will be hosting their public meeting at Gallaudet. Here’s the PDF embed.

 

This event is listed on our Events Page, and here’s a link to the above 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.

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.

First Video Installment – Brookline PD

By BitcoDavid

In order to maintain some continuity, I opted to make the first available video installment, the 1st section of the presentation by the Brookline Police, so as to fit in with the previous post. The video isn’t captioned, but there is a live interpreter in frame. If you need more help understanding it, let me know and I’ll caption a version for you – but the manual captioning method that I use is very time consuming and labor intensive – so if you can possibly live with this, I’d be grateful.

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.

Live Coverage of Bridgewater Event

By BitcoDavid

Keynote (presentation software)

Keynote (presentation software) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is an initial post. Video and in-depth coverage to follow. But, I wanted to get a chance to just give you a quick update – from the field. By eye, it looks to be a crowd of about 100 – 150 people. there are a few hearies, of which I think I’m the only non-signer. Most of the participants appear to be ASL only, speakers.

I sat and enjoyed my lunch, in complete silence, watching hands moving all around me. One rarely gets to experience being in the minority – even to the point of novelty – and the experience isn’t lost on me.

The program is being led by Dr. Aviva Twersky Glasner, who spoke first. Marsh Graham spoke, and mentioned in detail, both Felix, and the Lashonn White case, which we’ve also covered. She is the Deaf woman who was tased by police, and ended up spending 4 days in jail with no interpreter.HEARD and Solitary Watch

have also been mentioned.The Brookline MA police department sent out their team dedicated to working with special populations. All things being equal, Brookline police is doing a superior job of trying to advance the state of policing in regards to all special needs scenarios.

The Keynote, Dr. Brendan Monteiro, began his program, and will finish after lunch. DeafInPrison.com readers will be apprised of the contents of all these presentations, over the next day or so.

I’m hoping to get one more of these field posts up before I leave.

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.

Update on Englewood Case from H.E.A.R.D.

By BitcoDavid

This came from HEARD’s FaceBook page. If you haven’t yet done so, and you’re on FaceBook, you can shoot on over there, and give ‘em a “Like.” HEARD – Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf – is an organization that works tirelessly to aid both the Deaf community and the wrongfully convicted. They have been a wonderful resource for DeafInPrison.com

The Justice Department announced yesterday that it has reached settlement agreements with the City of Englewood and the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The agreements resolve allegations that these law enforcement agencies failed to provide effective communication to individuals who are deaf, including crime victims, witnesses, members of the public, arrestees, and detainees. These law enforcement agencies came forward voluntarily to enter into these agreements while the Department’s investigation was ongoing, so no finding of violation was made against either entity. The agreements also resolve a private lawsuit brought by individuals who are deaf, the Colorado Association of the Deaf, and the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition. The agreements are very comprehensive and may serve as models throughout the nation’s law enforcement and detention communities.

People interested in finding out more about the ADA and the Department’s settlement agreements with the City of Englewood and Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office can access the ADA website at ADA.gov, or call the toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 (voice) or (800) 514-0383 (TTY).

Again, you can go here to find out more online.

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! DeafNation Expo at Gallaudet University

By BitcoDavid

DeafNation will be having their expo at Gallaudet University on Saturday, April 20th. Admission is free, and you can register here.

Saturday, April 20, 2013
Gallaudet University – Field House
800 Florida, Ave, NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
HOURS: 9:00AM-5:00PM

View this event in 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.

From H.E.A.R.D., a Tool for Tracking FCC Proceedings

By BitcoDavid

Telephone

Telephone (Photo credit: plenty.r.)

Penal systems in all 50 states, as well as the Federal, tend to shuffle inmates around. Bed space, behavior, medical status, drug use, gang affiliation and race are only some of the factors that may go into these decisions. Nevertheless, it is not at all uncommon for inmates to be – suddenly, and with no explanation – removed from access to visiting family members and friends. Hence – in prison – little is as valuable as phone privileges.

But, like everything else in prison, the phone costs money. Phone time is charged by the minute, and either paid by the inmate or his family. The problem faced by the Deaf however, is that phone communications take much longer. Most prisons in the U.S. will not allow inmates to contact a Video Relay service. This is done – we’re told – for security reasons. That leaves the Deaf inmate with the far more archaic and cumbersome alternative of TTY. A TTY phone requires typing. In the time it takes you or me to say, “Hello mom. How’s Aunt Sadie?” a Deaf inmate struggling with a TTY keyboard may not even get in the first “H.”

Modern TTY Phone Image: E. Michigan Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Modern TTY Phone Image: E. Michigan Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Prison systems don’t have a problem with charging this inmate at the same – by the minute – rate, as they do the hearing prisoners, resulting in cases where Deaf inmates have been charged as much as 17 dollars for a local call.

The FCC has been alerted as to this iniquity, and the prison systems have been cited with violating the ADA. As you know, Talila Lewis and HEARD have been working diligently on correcting this issue. She recently sent out the following e-mail to members.

Friends,

My classmate created a very useful tool to help advocates and organizers keep up with comments that flow into the FCC during public comment periods.  He would like to ensure that disability rights advocates have access to his project and asked me to share the following information:

If you would like to receive a tidy email with a daily digest of filings in FCC Docket No. 12-375 (Implementation of the Pay Telephone Reclassification and Compensation Provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 et al.  -AKA – What Should the FCC do Re Excessive Telephone Rates for Prisoners & their Families?), sign up here: http://bit.ly/WZlAXn

Alan’s Message to the Disability Rights Community about his project:  Dokket.com is a tool designed to make it easy to track proceedings at the FCC. The FCC’s current system, ECFS, is difficult and clunky even for experienced communications law professionals. Though I’m still figuring out if I would like to commercialize Dokket, seek grant money, or continue bootstrapping it, I’d like to offer these email alerts free of charge to the disability rights community. If you have any questions, email me at adelevie@gmail.com.
 
Have a great evening!
Best,
TL

The bit.ly link will take you to an active Java applet that allows you to sign up for daily e-mails. Here’s the direct link to Dokket. com, as well.

And here’s an embedded and captioned video from HEARD, that explains this whole thing very well.

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.

The Theft of Dignity by Pastor Mark Ehrlichmann

By BitcoDavid

Pastor Ehrlichmann is a member of HEARD, and a supporter of the #JusticeForFelix project. Below is a letter he wrote for use in his Ministry, regarding Felix and the plight of all Deaf prisoners. It’s a heartfelt and profound read, and we are grateful to the Pastor for sharing it with us – and for all the work he does for the inmates.

If the text of this document is too small for you to read, you can zoom it in by clicking the magnifying glass icons on the bottom of the embed. You can also view it in full size, by clicking the link directly beneath it.

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.

FCC to Hear Case on Deaf Telephone Rate Inequity

By BitcoDavid

The following announcement and the associated PDF embed are courtesy of H.E.A.R.D.

Deaf Community members & Allies should submit comments to the FCC by March 25, 2013.

Telephone Typewriter (TTY) This device is also...

Telephone Typewriter (TTY) This device is also known as a text telephone (TT), or telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD). TTY indicates a device used with the telephone for communication with and between deaf, hard of hearing, speech impaired and/or hearing persons. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On December 28, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to address the long-standing issue of high prison telephone rates.  Hearing prisoners’ telephone calls can cost their family members as much as $17 for just 15 minutes of time.  These excessive rates prevent families from maintaining contact with loved ones.

Deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, speech impaired, and hearing prisoners with deaf family members endure an even greater financial burden with respect to telephone rates due to a number of factors, including (1) telephone rates being applied evenly to TTY and regular voice phone calls, the former of which is much more time-consuming; (2) failure of prisons to install videophones and captioned telephones; (3) security measures that either prevent deaf prisoners from calling relay operators or cause them to incur additional fees by requiring relay services; and (4) security measures that require deaf prisoners to only place collect calls.

 
Telephone

Remember these?Telephone (Photo credit: plenty.r.)

The FCC has requested public comments on whether prisoner phone rates and on deaf & disabled prisoner telecommunications access. The attached document explains some of the inequities that persist for deaf, signing & speech impaired prisoners and their families with regard to rates for and access to telecommunications in prison.  Please follow the directions in the document to submit a comment to the FCC.

 
HEARD will post a signed & captioned video of this information this week.

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.

My Trip and the Latest on Felix’s Case

By Pat Bliss

Image: Pat Bliss

Image: Pat Bliss

In mid-December 2012, the Requests for Clemency were filed. This is the first step. The actual hearings may be quite some time from now. We are now engaged in informational meetings, like the one I mention below, with the Governor’s legal counsel. As we progress in this action, I will keep you posted. Thank you all sincerely for your interest in Felix Garcia’s freedom. He so much appreciates knowing he isn’t forgotten and that people really do care.

I got back late Wednesday afternoon – the day after Christmas. I had driven for 10 hours. We had a great productive trip, but one highlight was on the 19th when I had an appointment to meet with the Governor’s legal advisor and Reggie Garcia, Felix’s new clemency attorney. I drove up that morning from Clearwater, Florida. We had our meeting at the Capital and I got a tour of the Governor’s office, too.

Image: Pat Bliss

Image: Pat Bliss

The other highlight was Christmas day with Felix. He was discouraged because he could not contact me – having heard no news. After I filled him in on the latest about his case, in Tallahassee, he lit up, and his face was all smiles. I saw hope written in his eyes. That is how Felix survives. It is the continual hope for something better.

However, there was one profound moment that really touched me. We were standing in line to buy ice cream at the commissary. The windows were open, no screens but bars. We were standing next to a window and while learning of his case, he asked me, “Do you feel freedom?” I asked him what he meant. He motioned his head towards the window (Inmates are no permitted to reach out) and said, “That is freedom right there, I want that so bad.”  Oh my, it broke my heart. Just beyond those bars, was the parking lot where I would be leaving from, and all I could say was, “You’ll be out there someday – as soon as possible.”

Felix Garcia celebrating his GED in 1984 Courtesy Pat Bliss.http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/12/deaf-prisoners-felix-garcia

Felix Garcia celebrating his GED in 1984 Courtesy Pat Bliss.
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/12/deaf-prisoners-felix-garcia

Fortunately, we were at the commissary window right then, and we got Snickers Ice Cream bars. Felix sure enjoyed his. I stayed as long as I was allowed. He gave me a big hug upon departure. I started heading north and spent the night just inside the Georgia border. Looking back – what a year this has been. Thank you, DeafInPrison.com and all our readers, fellow contributors and supporters, for being a part of it.

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.

 

DeafInPrison.com Celebrates its 200th Post!

http://wwwimages.adobe.com/www.adobe.com/downloadcenter/images/reader/reader_128.jpg

Image credit – like ya gotta ask?

Deaf InPrison.com – The Sonny Liston of Blog Sites, has published 200 posts. I’m telling you, there were times I didn’t think we’d ever make it this far. A lot of people, a lot of support, and a ton of machinery have worked in concert to make us a reality.

I’m grateful to our phenomenal contributors, our awesome supporters and followers, WordPress and ImageWorks.

I’m also grateful to HEARD, SolitaryWatch and the slew of utterly amazing Blog sites – too many to mention – who have been so supportive and helpful to us. You know who you are, and if you don’t, just take a stroll down our sidebars.

Sonny Liston

Sonny Liston (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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