My 12 Favorite Posts of 2013

By BitcoDavid

As the rock we call home hurtles around that angriest of planets at a mind boggling 67000 mph, I find myself feeling nostalgic. Here then, without further ado, is my list of the past 12 month’s highlights.

Image credit page not available

Image credit page not available

 

  1. First off, Moorbey’z Blog put us up for the Reality Blog AwardMoorbey has been a great collaborator and contributor to DeafInPrison.com, and I have nothing but admiration, respect and gratitude for all they do.
  2. Shanna Groves launched her #StopHearingLossBullying program, and I was honored to make the video. Since then, the program has been tagged in every one of our posts. Bullying of any kind leaves lifelong scars and limits people’s abilities. How many Mozarts, DaVincis or Einsteins are we destroying by bullying those who are a little different?
  3. In March, I attended the Symposium on the Deaf and the Justice SystemDuring lunch, everybody was signing to everybody else, and for perhaps the first time in my life, I had no one to talk to. It was on that day, that I decided to learn ASL.
  4. My 56th birthday celebration culminated in one of my best Digest Posts.
  5. Paul Smith has written 2 Supporter Contributions for us, and promises a 3rd. This one is on juvenile delinquency.
  6. For 11 years now, Pat Bliss has been working on obtaining release for the innocent Deaf man, Felix Garcia. Nobody knows the case better, and Felix calls Ms. Bliss Mom. In June, we published the 2nd embed detailing Felix’s case. The final embeds will be forthcoming. Any questions one might have regarding this tragic story, can be answered within these embedded PDFs.
  7. July saw the launch of our FaceBook group, ASL Learners by DeafInPrison.com.
  8. No one can know more about prison life than Glenn Langohr. After all, he spent years living in California’s roughest prisons. Many of those years were spent in the dreaded SHU. Mr. Langohr has moved past all that, and now writes fascinating and intense books about his time on the wrong side of the barbed wire. He contributes to DeafInPrison.com, and I am honored to call him my friend.
  9. If Dr. Jean F. Andrews can be called the Elton John of Deaf education and psychology, than Dr. McCay Vernon would have been the Mick Jagger. Dr. Andrews wrote her goodbyes in this piece in September.
  10. Marsha Graham gave us her perspective on juvenile crime. Ms. Graham has been a constant supporter and aid to DeafInPrison.com – and is the individual most responsible for my success as a fledgling signer. She took me under her wing, and patiently tutored me in my early days at the ASL Meetup. She is also a dear personal friend, and I would like to take this opportunity to wish her nothing but the best of luck with her ongoing health concerns.
  11. Melisa Marzett is another Supporter Contributor. Her first piece for us was about 3-D printing in hearing aid technology.
  12. Finally, for Christmas came the single cutest video ever shot.

So, while you’re struggling with learning to write 2014 on checks and such, don’t forget to check in with DeafInPrison.com for enlightening and informative reading. Happy New Year, everybody.

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.

I Meet McCay Vernon

By Joanne Greenberg

About 40 years ago, a man called me up on the telephone. “I read your book, In This Sign, and I think you would be the one to work on a film I have in mind.”

I was annoyed. “I’ve never written a script,” I said.

He went on. “I have a grant to make a film about the effect of deafness on the families of deaf children.”

That was easy. Who was this clown? “I’m not interested in children,” I said. “My interest is in deaf adults. If I were to write the script for such a film, I’d have to know about the effect they have on families.”

“What if I got 20 or 30 sets of parents of deaf children to meet with you and talk about their experiences so that you would learn about them?”

“Sure,” I said, knowing it would never happen.

The next week he called again. “I have a a group of 30 set up in Denver, but you need to tell me when you will be free.”

I told him, scarcely believing what he said.

“I’ll be there to introduce you, ” he said, “so that we can tell them of the plan.”

I picked up McCay Vernon at his hotel and we started out, getting hugely lost in the wilds of downtown Denver, ending up at a Safeway Truck depot. He was patience personified. We got to the meeting late, but not too late.

The meeting was a revelation to me. We made the film. At first, I realized that the ordinary speech couldn’t be used, even though I had 3 hours of tapes to listen to. I made a script using bis of this and that and summarizing what I had heard. Our EXT problem was that using the parents themselves resulted in an artificial and stilted feeling and McCay finally went to a local (Westminster, Maryland) drama group. The film won a prize and I had a 40 year friendship with one of the most gifted, genuine, human people I would ever meet.

One of his gifts was, that he could sense what you were best at, and that would be the task he’d assign you. Most people – when putting together a project – will pick any warm body for a given task, but McCay had an almost 6th sense for assigning people the work at which they were best suited.

We did many projects together. I miss him deeply.

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.

Mac’s Reach Exceeded His Grasp

By Jean F. Andrews

It was the end of August, 1974 and I was sitting in a crowded classroom next to 25 other students at Western Maryland College (now McDaniel’s College) in the bottom basement of the campus library. The professor, dressed casually in a light blue guayabera, walked into the classroom, picked up a piece of chalk and wrote down a list of the variables that make up a psychology of deafness.
His lecture style was intense; however, his southern accent relaxed the serious tone of his lecture. I looked down and flipped over my textbook, They Grow In Silence, and noticed the author’s picture. It was the professor standing in front of me. The only other authors I knew were dead, like William Shakespeare, Geoffrey Chaucer, W.B. Yeats. I had graduated from an English department the year before and now I was in a graduate program in Deaf Education. I had wanted to be English teacher but it was 1974 and the teaching jobs in regular education were taken up by young men dodging the Viet Nam draft. I had taken an ASL class in my senior year of college and thought that teaching deaf children through sign language would make for an interesting career.

I looked around the room and saw 10 to 12 of the students who were deaf and that a sign language interpreter was translating the professor’s lecture. Mac signed fluently and signed when students asked him questions. He frequently asked the deaf students to share their frustrating and lonely experiences growing up deaf. He talked a lot about his wife, Edith Vernon’s experience growing up deaf as well. Magically, Mac transformed the classroom into a platform for stories about the experiences of deaf people – the most unusual that I had ever heard or read about. And his papers, available to us in the library, on the Role of Deaf Teachers and understanding the Group Minority Dynamics of Deaf Culture were exciting to read. Mac weaved Deaf Rights into the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights movements way before ADA and IDEA made their impact.

That year Mac turned me and several of my classmates into published writers, movie stars and scholars. He published our papers in the American Annals of the Deaf. He cast us in documentaries he was making about deafness. And when we stopped by his office, he had a list of graduate programs at a variety of universities where he encouraged many of us to further our education and to get our Ph.Ds. Many of us in that classroom and in other classes taught by Mac, did just that. We went on to be college professors, researchers, CEOs of technology companies, psychologists, social workers, deaf-blind specialists, forensic specialists, mental health professionals, writers and administrators at schools for the deaf.

Mac’s gentle and consistent support was always only a phone call, a letter or an email away.
“A man’s reach should exceed his grasp,” said the poet, Robert Browning. And Mac’s reach extended beyond his grasp of the time we students spent with him in that crowded classroom 39 years ago.
Mac’s reach extended beyond us college students too. His research, writings, speeches, and advocacy have resulted in better lives for generations of Deaf people.

And we all lost a dear friend and colleague, whose humor, humanity, humility and vitality we will never forget.

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

A Friend Whom Felix Never Met

By Pat Bliss

This friendship goes back a long time starting with a letter written in Felix’s behalf in 1996, asking help for a deaf innocent man in prison at that time 15 years. Dr. McCay Vernon replied to Felix on November 24, 1996. McCay immediately took some action by sending a copy of the letter to the Editor in Chief of Silent News, Mrs. Betty Broecker, and wrote to Mr. Frank Slater of the Florida Association of the Deaf to see if they would help. Unfortunately, neither one responded to Felix but this began an interest in Felix’s plight.

I have no letters or notes between Felix and McCay but that does not mean there were none as they could have gotten thrown away or lost at the prison. However, there had to be some correspondence because I got a phone message on 8/22/09 followed up with a letter on 8/24/09 from McCay stating he would like to volunteer his services at Felix’s parole hearing. He sent me his resume. That really touched me, as if a man of his stature would be required to show the Parole Board his credentials as an expert on the deaf.  As happens in DOC, no one appeared at the parole hearing due to the Parole Board setting the hearing one month earlier in 2010  and we were not aware of it. Hence, no one was there representing Felix and the result was a denial.

FaceBook
FaceBook

Mac could not get Felix out of his mind. He was really upset to know there was a deaf man, innocent, still in prison. He would send me copies of articles on the deaf in the criminal justice system.  In our emails I talked about writing a book on Felix’s case. Marie Vernon offered suggestions, since she is an experienced novelist.  Then Mac suggested I contact Journalist Jim Ridgeway in Washington DC, I did, and he published Felix’s story in a article for Mother Jones mag. While I was working with Jim on his article, I got a phone call from Author Joanne Greenberg saying she heard from McCay asking if she could  write the book on Felix’s case story. Joanne declined for something better and suggested I tell Felix’s story on her new blog site DeafInPrison.com . The rest is history. Felix and I are very thankful to Mac for his full support and help to get his story out to the public.

In the meantime, I am telling Felix all what is going on, how Mac helped us here and there and that he cared so much about his situation. Felix’s relationship with Mac was mainly through my letters and I would pass back to Mac what is going on in Felix’s life. Relaying back and forth messages regarding Felix continued until the day Mac was not able to do it anymore in July of this year.

Felix called me the weekend of September 1st and I told him the news of Mac’s passing. I cannot say how Felix took it as “feelings” are not translated over a TTY call but he responded the only way he could – I’ll send his wife a card. Felix could have cried when alone, however, until then, emotions are held at bay in prison life. An additional  sad part of this story is,  another friend will not be there to meet Felix when he is freed. Dr. McCay Vernon wanted to see that day so badly – he will indeed be sorely missed. 

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.

More on the Passing of Dr. McCay Vernon

By BitcoDavid

Three posts today. I would have done them as a digest post, but I think they each bear too much weight to handle that way.

Courtesy of FaceBook – In Honor of Mac Vernon – page

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, the man whom we should probably start referring to as our Founder, Dr. McCay Vernon, passed away on Wednesday. Here’s the obit from the funeral home.

Dr. McCay Vernon, an iconic figure in the fields of deafness and psychology, passed from life on August 28, 1913 at age 84. His exploration of the psychological aspects of deafness, his challenges to poor educational and mental health services for people who are deaf, and his advocacy of legal rights for people who are deaf extended throughout his nearly 60-year career in those fields. His lasting legacy includes the many former students and colleagues now serving in the fields of deafness and psychology.

Dr. Vernon was born at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. to Colonel Percy Vernon and Teresa Preble Vernon. Upon his father’s death, the family moved to St. Augustine where he attended Ketterlinus High School. He entered the Army at age 17 and served with military intelligence in Korea. Upon his discharge, he obtained his bachelor’s degree at the University of Florida and later earned Master’s degrees from Gallaudet University and Florida State University. He completed his doctoral work in Psychology at Claremont Graduate University in California.
Vernon was author of five books in the field of deafness, over 250 journal articles, and an award-winning public television documentary, “They Grow in Silence.” After serving in a number of schools for the deaf, he became head of a research project on deafness at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. Later he was instrumental in establishing a graduate program at Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) to prepare professionals to work with individuals who are deaf. He was active in the field of deafblindness and served on the board of the Foundation Fighting Blindness. In more recent times he focused on his forensic practice in which he became a strong advocate for justice and legal rights for people who are deaf. He was always a strong advocate for the use of sign language.
Among the many awards Vernon received during his career were The American Psychological Association Award for “Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest,” the Medal of Honor from the British Association of the Deaf, the Declaration of Merit from the World Federation of the Deaf, and the American Psychiatric Association Award for “Career Contributions to Mental Health and Deafness.” He received Honorary Doctor of Letters degrees from Gallaudet University and McDaniel College.
Vernon was predeceased by his first wife, Edith Goldston Vernon, who was deaf and played a vital role in his career. Through her, he gained critical insights into the needs of people who are deaf. With his second wife, the former Marie vonGunten, he co-authored two books on serial killers, one of whom was deaf.
Dr. Vernon is survived by his wife, Marie; his daughter, Eve Vernon Peters and son-in-law Brian Peters, of Riverton, New Jersey; brother, Col. (ret.) Graham Vernon of Carlisle, Pennsylvania; sister, Terese Vernon Douglass (Dexter) of Tallahassee; and stepchildren Dr. Jean Aims (Clifford) of Smithfield, Virginia, Hollace Feist (Rodney) of St. Augustine, Florida, Wade Wisner (Lucy) of Dandridge, Tennessee, Roger Wisner of Long Beach, California, Dr. Priscilla Wisner (Joe) of Knoxville, Tennessee and Patricia Miller (Cameron) of Reisterstown, Maryland.
His family wishes to thank the staff of the Northeast Florida Community Hospice and the Bailey Center for Caring in St. Augustine for their many kindnesses during Dr. Vernon’s final illness. No memorial service is planned at this time.
Those wishing to make a memorial donation may contribute to the Dr. McCay Vernon Fund for Support of Deaf Education, McDaniel College, 2 College Hill, Westminster, MD 21157.

To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of McCay “Mac” Vernon please visit our Sympathy Store.

You can find this obituary online at:
http://www.craigfuneralhome.com/obituaries/Mccay-Vernon/#!/Obituary

And if you’d like, you can leave a comment on their tribute wall, here.

Here’s the Washington Post obituary:

Dr. McCay Vernon, an iconic figure in the fields of deafness and psychology, passed from life on August 28, 1913 at age 84. His exploration of the psychological aspects of deafness, his challenges to poor educational and mental health services for people who are deaf, and his advocacy of legal rights for people who are deaf extended throughout his nearly 60-year career in those fields. His lasting legacy includes the many former students and colleagues now serving in the fields of deafness and psychology. Dr. Vernon was born at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. to Colonel Percy Vernon and Teresa Preble Vernon. Upon his father’s death, the family moved to St. Augustine where he attended Ketterlinus High School. He entered the Army at age 17 and served with military intelligence in Korea. Upon his discharge, he obtained his bachelor’s degree at the University of Florida and later earned Master’s degrees from Gallaudet University and Florida State University. He completed his doctoral work in Psychology at Claremont Graduate University in California. Vernon was author of five books in the field of deafness, over 250 journal articles, and an award-winning public television documentary, “They Grow in Silence.” After serving in a number of schools for the deaf, he became head of a research project on deafness at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. Later he was instrumental in establishing a graduate program at Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) to prepare professionals to work with individuals who are deaf. He was active in the field of deaf/blindness and served on the board of the Foundation Fighting Blindness. In more recent times he focused on his forensic practice in which he became a strong advocate for justice and legal rights for people who are deaf. He was always a strong advocate for the use of sign language. Among the many awards Vernon received during his career were The American Psychological Association Award for “Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest,” the Medal of Honor from the British Association of the Deaf, the Declaration of Merit from the World Federation of the Deaf, and the American Psychiatric Association Award for “Career Contributions to Mental Health and Deafness.” He received Honorary Doctor of Letters degrees from Gallaudet University and McDaniel College. Vernon was predeceased by his first wife, Edith Goldston Vernon, who was deaf and played a vital role in his career. Through her, he gained critical insights into the needs of people who are deaf. With his second wife, the former Marie vonGunten, he co-authored two books on serial killers, one of whom was deaf. Dr. Vernon is survived by his wife, Marie; his daughter, Eve Vernon Peters and son-in-law Brian Peters, of Riverton, New Jersey; brother, Col. (ret.) Graham Vernon of Carlisle, Pennsylvania; sister, Terese Vernon Douglass (Dexter) of Tallahassee; and stepchildren Dr. Jean Aims (Clifford) of Smithfield, Virginia, Hollace Feist (Rodney) of St. Augustine, Florida, Wade Wisner (Lucy) of Dandridge, Tennessee, Roger Wisner of Long Beach, California, Dr. Priscilla Wisner (Joe) of Knoxville, Tennessee and Patricia Miller (Cameron) of Reisterstown, Maryland. His family wishes to thank the staff of the Northeast Florida Community Hospice and the Bailey Center for Caring in St. Augustine for their many kindnesses during Dr. Vernon’s final illness. No memorial service is planned at this time. Those wishing to make a memorial donation may contribute to the Dr. McCay Vernon Fund for Support of Deaf Education, McDaniel College, 2 College Hill, Westminster, MD 21157. Craig Funeral Home www.craigfuneralhome.com

Published in The Washington Post on August 29, 2013

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.

Dr. McCay Vernon Passes Away

By BitcoDavid

From our Author’s page:
McCay Vernon is the inspiration behind DeafInPrison.com. Upon learning of Felix Garcia’s plight in Florida, Vernon contacted Joanne Greenberg about writing a book regarding the struggles of Deaf inmates. Ms. Greenberg liked the idea, but thought a Blog site may be a more effective method of reaching an audience.

McCay Vernon has worked for over fifty-five years to improve the lives of both deaf and deaf-blind individuals through his research on major medical and psychological aspects of these conditions. This research has been coupled with strong advocacy for the use of sign language, mental health services, full legal rights, improved education and better vocational services and opportunities. To this end, he has written over 200 journal articles and book chapters, 11 books and scripts for twenty documentary films on deafness and deaf-blindness. Included among them, a major contribution to “They Grow in Silence,” winner of the 1970 Public Broadcasting Award for Public Service Programs.

***

Dr. Vernon was known by all who worked with him as a kind and gentle man. He devoted his life to helping the Deaf, the deaf-blind and the mentally ill, particularly those behind bars. He wrote countless books and articles on a wide range of social and psychological subjects. He was a good friend to our Publisher, Joanne Greenberg, and our contributor Pat Bliss. I myself knew him when I was a child, but my memory of him fails me. In our numerous conversations during the launch phase of this Web site however, I was struck by the fact that his memory of me was much clearer.

As a child, I managed to impress a great man. I can only hope that as an adult, I’ll be able to live up to what expectations he may have had. Dr. Vernon, you will indeed, be sadly missed.

A commemorative page has been set up at https://www.facebook.com/pages/In-Honor-of-Mac-Vernon/497356137020470

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.

2012 at DeafInPrison.com

By BitcoDavid

Although our brief hiatus for the holidays isn’t officially over until Wednesday, I wanted to get this post up before the end of the year. I would like to begin by wishing all our contributors, guest posters, readers and commentators the happiest of holidays. 2012 was a great year for us, and I truly hope that 2013 proves to be orders of magnitude better, not just for us, but for all of youyou who have made DeafInPrison.com possible.

DeafInPrison.com was founded in December of 2011 by our Publisher, Joanne Greenberg. It was at the behest of one of our contributors – Dr. McCay Vernon – after he was moved by the Felix Garcia story. I became Editor and Administrator in January of 2012. We spent about 2 months developing the format and launched on March 4th.

Solitary Confinement by Stan MoodyImage: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/12/03/18701671.php

Solitary Confinement by Stan Moody
Image: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/12/03/18701671.php

During the past 9 months we’ve covered a number of subjects including Deaf culture, Deaf education, the School to Prison Pipeline, prison health care, the mentally ill in prison, prison rape and sexual abuse, overcrowding in our prisons and the War on Drugs.  We’ve managed to bring together some excellent minds as contributors and guest columnists, and enjoyed over 700 comments.

We’ve peppered these great articles with some truly wonderful artwork. Artwork which – speaking as a content creator – is a source of pride for me. We’ve undergone a number of upgrades and format changes since our launch. First and foremost, our ability to embed videos. This feature allowed us to bring you the entire Felix Garcia Interview. And since we weren’t dependent on a hosting site, we could insert those videos fully captioned. I caption my videos manually. That guarantees an error free and accurate representation of what’s being said. Sadly, I have seen other captioned videos – those that rely on autocaptioning software – that look like the mess you get when you let your cell phone autocorrect your text messages.

Our ability to embed videos, in fact, was what gave Jim Ridgeway the confidence to allow us access to the Felix videos, in the first place. An action that resulted in my deepest gratitude and indebtedness to him. He was quite reticent to put these videos up on YouTube, where they would have been unprotected and vulnerable to abuse.

Felix and me 10/28/2012 Image Courtesy of Pat Bliss

Felix and me 10/28/2012
Image Courtesy of Pat Bliss

And DeafinPrison.com has done a lot more for Felix’s all important cause, than simply putting up a few videos. Our contributor, Pat Bliss, has been working tirelessly – for several years now – to obtain Felix’s well deserved freedom. She visits him as often as possible, and corresponds with him constantly. (He calls her Mom.) She has become the go to expert on the case, and has written about it extensively on DeafInPrison.com.

We created a petition site at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/453/783/026/felix-garcia-should-be-granted-a-full-pardon/ and we plan to deliver those signatures to the Governor and several cabinet members in Florida. Unfortunately, over the past few weeks, we haven’t been getting the attention to this petition that it requires. Felix’s clemency hearings are going on now . We need 700 more signatures before we can present this, and we want it to work in conjunction with the hearings.

Please! Please! If you haven’t signed this petition, do so now. And please share it to all your friends.

Felix has already served more time than many guilty people serve for similar crimes – and he’s innocent. He deserves justice.

juvenile girl in prison PBSNewsHour/YouTube Photo by Richard Ross

juvenile girl in prison PBSNewsHour/YouTube Photo by Richard Ross

Other upgrades have included the ability to embed non-video media, such as PDFs and Excel files, and our awesome sidebars – another source of pride for me. Through our sidebars, we’ve been able to provide you with bleeding edge coverage of the latest posts by a host of Web sites and Blogs. Our sidebars are an ever expanding source of additional information and interactive content, and a good percentage of my work on the site is in maintaining and adding to them. I hope you find them useful and enjoyable, and moreover, I hope you will gain a greater appreciation for them as they grow.

We’ve also begun adding interactive tag links to all our stories, as well as related content links to the bottom of each post.

During this first 9 months, we’ve made some wonderful contacts and partnerships. I would like to extend my gratitude to each of them, and extend the hand of friendship to all others who would like to be a part of the DeafInPrison.com experience. Here’s the honor roll:

Human’s in Shadow, National Assn. of the Deaf, Glenn Langohr, Jim Ridgeway, Mad Mike’s America, Charlie Swinbourne, Shanna Groves , PrisonMovement’s Weblog , Marsha Graham, DeafRead.com, CrimeDime, Talila Lewis and HEARD, Diane Lane Chambers, ImageWorksLLC, Maria Dollhopf, Cynthia Dixon, Prison Enquirer, Curi56 and Thousand Kites.

I hope I got everybody, but if I missed you, please accept my apology and feel free to backlink to yourself in a comment. A lot of you have multiple sites, and I, obviously can only create one link per name. You can also backlink to one of your other sites.

Randy Garber Blue Jay Blues. Image courtesy of Jean F. Andrews.

Randy Garber Blue Jay Blues. Image courtesy of Jean F. Andrews.

Now, on to the Stats:

We received 31,000 views in 2012. We created 240 posts and uploaded 493 pictures. Our busiest day was October 25th with 451 views. Our most popular piece that day was Angela McCaskill Speaks Out. That piece was our fourth most popular of all time, with the first three installments of the Felix Garcia Interviews edging it out for the #1,2 and 3 slots.

Our top 5 referrers were FaceBook, Networked Blogs, WordPress, Blog Catalog and DeafRead. We had views from 84 countries.  Our videos – 16 of them, altogether – received 1897 views. We got 778 comments.

I’ve been involved with the Blogosphere and Citizen Journalism since it first started back in the ’90s, and everybody has always told me it takes at least a year to get a site off the ground. Based on that, I have to say DeafInPrison.com is doing exceptionally well. I’m proud of our success, but I’m looking to 2013 to make this past year, pale by comparison. Remember, we’re only 9 months old. That’s still infancy – at least in dog-years.

Now, I don't really get why somebody would want this painted over, but... http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/09/14/tribute-to-graffiti-50-beautiful-graffiti-artworks/

Now, I don’t really get why somebody would want this painted over, but…
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/09/14/tribute-to-graffiti-50-beautiful-graffiti-artworks/

Here’s some of where I see us going. I could die and go to Heaven, if Felix got full clemency, and was finally released. Perhaps we could convince him to share some of his experiences with us, as a contributor or guest blogger. I want to see us at least double - if not triple our posting for this coming year. I also want to add more videos and more non-video embedded media. I want to see our side bars grow further, packed with more interactive attractions. I want more input from our existing contributors, and I would like to bring as many more on board, as possible. I also want to see more guest posts – and of course, I would love the opportunity to guest post on your blog. Shoot me a line or comment if you think that might be something you’d be interested in.

Again, thank you all for being a part of the DeafInPrison.com project and here’s to wishing you all a happy and prosperous 2013.

English: Visitors entrance to the Utah State P...

Visitors entrance to the Utah State Prison in Draper, Utah. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

November 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.

An audio engineer at an audio console.

Just thought I’d throw this in. The boards nowadays make this thing look like a table radio.

 

Mini-post: Update #JusticeForFelix

161 Signers so far. Don’t drop the ball. Felix still needs you. Sign @ http://www.thepetitionsite.com/453/783/026/felix-garcia-should-be-granted-a-full-pardon/ Tweet #JusticeForFelix

Deaf Culture Behind Bars – the Book

Here’s the cover photo courtesy of http://www.harriscomm.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=17570, where you can also go to order it.

Well, since I spent all weekend fixing server disasters, only to discover that they weren’t fixed, I thought I’d talk about two archaic medieval commodities that you may remember – if you search the darkest recesses of your mind.

The U.S. Mail, and books. You remember books, right? They were like really long tweets only made out of paper.

So, today I received via the U.S. mail, a book. That’s right. The Pony Express rider brought a dead tree – right to my front door. After Jack scared him off, I was able to open the package and enjoy its contents.

The book is called Deaf Culture Behind Bars: Signs and Stories of a Texas Population. It is written by someone with whom we are quite familiar – thanks in no small part to our contributor Jean F. AndrewsKatrina R. Miller. The forward is by our own McCay Vernon. It was sent to me via this antiquated method, by Joanne Greenberg – our site’s owner and publisher.

You can order it from http://www.harriscomm.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=17570

Now, having just received it today, I’m not really in a position to offer you a qualitative review, but having flipped through it, I find it to be informative, interactive and even somewhat humorous.

There’s a section where Dr. Andrews shows you all the signs you’d need to know, should you find yourself a guest of the state. For example, I now know the proper sign for Ad-seg.

I also found a section dealing with substance abuse amongst the Deaf. There are even a few first hand accounts of life behind bars as experienced by Deaf offenders.

Beautiful Daguerreotype of an old Pony Express rider. Image:http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pony_express.jpg

All in all, I can’t wait to start devouring this book. I think it will help me as I write for you on this site, and it will contribute to my overall understanding of this complex and difficult subject.

The One Lovely Blog Award

August 1, 2012

I received a message recently, nominating me for the One Lovely Blog Award by Marsha Graham of iPhonePhotoMaven at http://iphonephotomaven.wordpress.com/awards/#comment-410. (She publishes several other blogs – her fingers are bleeding on the keyboard.)

Thank you, Marsha, for your nomination. I’m glad you enjoy DeafInPrison.com.  We work hard at presenting news and information regarding the issue of Deaf incarceration, in an interesting and enjoyable format. Accepting this award is an honor, and a great opportunity to mention some of the blogs that have had an influence on us.

There are five guidelines for accepting this award:

Link back to the blogger who nominated you.

  1. Paste the award image on your blog, anywhere.
  2. Tell seven facts about yourself.
  3. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award.
  4. Contact the bloggers that you have chosen to let them know that they have been nominated.

Seven facts about me: (Since I’m the editor/administrator for this blog, but neither the site owner – publisher, nor the sole content creator, I feel it necessary to share some of the wealth.)

1. When I’m not blogging, I’m a pro-am boxer. That is to say that although I don’t make money fighting for purses, I train like a pro – 12 round fights at 3 minutes a round. I fight once a week, and spend about 2 hours a day training.

2. DeafInPrison.com is the brainchild of Joanne Greenberg from an impetus by McCay Vernon. Dr. Vernon was looking to co-author a book on the subject, but Ms. Greenberg convinced him of the advantages of an online approach.

3.  My Gravatar is Jack.  Jack is a Chow-Lab mix. He was born to a dog-fighting ring in Georgia, and due to his lack of size was unceremoniously left by the side of the road with his mother and siblings. His mother was hit and killed by a passing car, and the rescue organization – Old Fella Burke County Animal Rescue – found him, starving and afraid – suckling at her corpse. They sent him up to Northeast Animal Shelter – a no kill shelter – in Salem, MA.

4. If you’ve been watching our video series, Felix Garcia in His Own Words, you’ve undoubtedly been impressed by the job done by our wonderful interpreter. Here’s something I didn’t know about ASL interpreting. In this world of self-promotion and overnight Internet fame – the ASL interpreter views her work in somewhat the same light, as does a doctor or a priest. That is to say that they want to keep their names out of the public view, and maintain a confidentiality regarding their clients.

5. I have lived many past lives. I’ve been an audio-video engineer, a computer engineer, a rock and roll soundman, a cabbie, a truck driver and numerous things that are a lot less pride-worthy. Most recently, however, I was a Diabetic. I was obese – at a body fat percentage of over 30%, and I almost died of Diabetic shock before my diagnosis. I have beaten the disease, using diet and exercise. My blood work has been that of a non-Diabetic for the last 3 years, and I’ve been off any medication. Doctors generally view this as impossible.

6. Not all Sign is ASL. Apparently, in Guatemala the Deaf speak Lensegua. Some quick research reveals that just about every country has a unique version of Sign language. There is also a Lingua Franca version called International Sign, and another American form called Signed Exact English. ASL however, is the big dog in the tall grass. It’s the 4th most commonly spoken language in the World.

7. DeafInPrison.com is constantly seeking content. We need to hear from anyone who’s Deaf and has been – or is currently – incarcerated or has interacted with Law Enforcement. Conversely, we need to hear from those on the other side of the glass, so to speak. If you are a Corrections Officer or Police Officer who has interacted with the Deaf, please contact us. This is extremely important. We want nothing more than to tell this story fairly, and with both sides represented.

————————————-

The next part of the award is nominating other bloggers:

1. Improving Police

http://improvingpolice.wordpress.com/  A blog site by a former Police commissioner, who works to improve the way policing is done.

2. Nanoy Manga

http://nonoymanga.wordpress.com/ Teaches the art of Manga, and religiously follows DeafInPrison.com. I can always count on a “Like” from him, and that earns my gratitude.

3. Lipreading Mom

http://lipreadingmom.com/ A blogger – and actual real life writer – discusses what raising hearing children is like for a HoH individual.

4. MadMike’s America

http://madmikesamerica.com/ My mentor and inspiration. They have an army of contributors, post like a Colorado wild fire, and have a vast readership. If DeafInPrison.com ever becomes even 1/10th as huge – I can die and go to Heaven.

5. Law Office of Marsha Graham

http://attorneygraham.com/ One of Ms. Graham’s many blogs. All this and a working attorney. Where does she find the time?

6. Another Boomer Blog

http://anotherboomerblog.wordpress.com/ - This too, is a Marsha Graham blog. Her support for the DeafInPrison.com project has been invaluable, and if it were up to me, she’d win her own special award.

7. Ricky’s Medical Blog

http://rickysmedicalblog.wordpress.com/As mentioned above, I like to climb into a ring with a 200 pound bone-breaker and throw it around. So, dare I say it – I’m pretty buff. Well, this guy makes me look like the proverbial 90 pound weakling. He’s also a doctor, a personal trainer and a behavioral scientist. His articles are factual and informative – and they deal in science – not rumor, mythology or urban legend.

8. Prisonmovement’s Weblog

http://prisonmovement.wordpress.com/ One of the sites that I consider a sister site to DeafInPrison.com. We commonly reblog each other, and their cause is much in sync with our own. A great site, and one that I’m proud to associate myself with.

9. Terpshands

http://terpshands.wordpress.com/ One area, which DeafInPrison.com concerns itself with, is ASL interpretation. The need for qualified interpreters is great. Terpshands is such an interpreter.

10. CrimeDime

http://crimedime.com/ Mentioning CrimeDime here is as much an honor as it is a pleasure. They too, are what I consider a sister site to our own, but they’ve been of immeasurable help to me in starting DeafInPrison.com. They interviewed me, and published it as a four part series. My head still won’t fit through my front door. I’ve said this before, but CrimeDime – you guys are the bomb!

11. iPhonePhotoBlogging

http://iphonephotomaven.wordpress.com/ So, along with all her other talents, Marsha Graham is also a photographer. And just to make matters more challenging, she creates all this beautiful work with an iPhone.

12. Ellexa Press LLC

http://www.ellexapress.com/ Not exactly a blog site, per se, but the home of one of DeafInPrison.com’s favorite interpreters.

13. H.E.A.R.D.

http://www.behearddc.org/ Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf. Again, not necessarily a blog site, but they’ve been relentless in both their fight to aid Deaf prisoners, and in their support of DeafInPrison.com.

14. Blog Catalog

http://www.blogcatalog.com/blogs/deafinprison-1 This is a blog site aggregator. Once listed on here, they help promote your blog. It’s kind of like the Zagat guide for bloggers. Civilians can go here to read reviews and ratings of your blog.

15. Solitary Watch

http://solitarywatch.com/ The Web site of Jim Ridgeway. He’s the journalist who interviewed Felix Garcia in prison, from which we’ve made our hugely successful video series. Mr. Ridgeway has worked for prison reform and the abolishment of solitary confinement – for many years.

Felix in His Own Words Part 4 – End of Disc 1

This is the fourth video in our series of interviews with Felix Garcia – an innocent Deaf man who has served 30+ years for a crime he didn’t commit. In this particular installment, there were portions where 2 or more individuals were speaking at the same time. In those cases, I tried to put them both on the same caption line – delineated by initials.

Here’s the embedded video:

And here’s the PDF Transcript:

Felix transcript 4

Felix Garcia Interview Part 3

This is part 3 in our series, “Felix Garcia in His Own Words.” It’s already captioned and ready for your viewing. For those of you who enjoy a written transcript, please click the link below the video for a PDF. Part 4 – the end of Disc 1 – is being interpreted now, and will be ready next week.

Felix Garcia Interview Part 3 Transcript

Out of Prison, Trailing Demons – From BendBulletin.com

This picture moved me, so I used it in a previous post (properly cited and linked – of course). I recently had reason to go back to the original article in which it was published, and decided it rated a reblog here, on DeafInPrison.com. So, for your enjoyment and edification…

http://www.bendbulletin.com/article/20080519/NEWS0107/805190324/

Private Prison Company May Take Over Virginia Sex Offender Center

Private Prison Virginia Sex Offender

This is reblogged from the Huffington Post. Please click on the link below to view.

Private Prison Company May Take Over Virginia Sex Offender Center.

Felix Part II is Now Captioned

The captioning is now complete on the 2nd installment of the video series “Felix Garcia in his Own Words.”

http://deafinprison.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/felix-in-his-own-words-part-2/

The 3rd installment has been interpreted and will be posted with captions and a PDF transcript within a couple of days.

SuperMax: The Faces of a Prison’s Mentally Ill – Reblogged From PrisonMovement’s Weblog

We have nothing but respect for PrisonMovement’s Weblog. Although this story is now, almost a month old, I wanted very much to post it. Here’s the link.

http://prisonmovement.wordpress.com/2012/06/19/supermax-the-faces-of-a-prisons-mentally-ill/

Inmate Letter Dated July 1st 2012

I received a letter for the first time from another Deaf inmate in a Florida prison. As usual, his name, locations and identification  will not be revealed. I am leaving out, as he requested, any mention or description of personal family, business and actions. I also have had to type it out as the printing is hard to understand if letter was scanned. This is not a letter of abuse as we have seen posted before but is quite different in that this inmate is still struggling with his deafness, like trying to use a TTY phone and communicating with the hearing. I’m typing it verbatim (misspelling included).

July 1, 2012

Dear Patricia,

Hi, I do hope things are going well for you. *** gave me your name and address. He told me you were interested in the trails that the deaf and hearing impaired go through in the judicial and D.O.C. prison system. First of all “Pat” if you don’t mind, I feel I have to apologize for my handwriting. I am ‘all’ left handed and as a 16 year old I was pinned between a truck and block wall. So I have some permanent damage in my left arm.

I don’t really know if I was born with my hearing problem. As a young child I never knew that I had a hearing problem, because I didn’t know. Maybe I may of thought that I had a problem behaving. [He was telling of being reprimanded because he didn't hear something.] I think it was then when I started setting in the corner of a room and paying attention to every one around me. Constantly looking to see if I was being spoken to. I had a very hard time in school. I was assigned to a speech therapist. This helped me alot in speaking and to keep my voice low. I was always getting into trouble from being way too loud.

[Here he describes his family businesses and the extreme noise.] I didn’t think it mattered my hearing was already almost gone. My first year in prison in*** is when I came to the conclusion that my old ways of hearing wasn’t making it. So I started the process of seeking help.

I seen a audiolgist for an evaluation, this lady was very good at what she did. She discovered that I could and was lip reading her, so she put me in the booth and pulled a blind over the windo. “I never know that I could.” After the exam she told me that, quote “I don’t normally do this but you have a considerable hearing loss and I am going to put you in for two over the ear hearing aids. I will fit you for the left ear now bing that is the ear with the most hearing loss. I only received one from D.O.C. After three years D.O.C. would let me go through the process again of replacing a hearing aid or get a new one. So I got one for my right ear. I have 10% hearing in left ear and 28% in the right ear.

“I tell you mam after 40 years of not hearing. With my hearing aids on “in here” in a crowded day room I find that normal is extremely loud and at time obnoxious. More and more I catch myself turning my aids off and backing myself against a wall or corner. I don’t know if I’ll ever get use to them. Till ** spoke with me about you I never really gave my hearing disability very much thought, pertaining to the court system. Since them I have been thinking about it.

I do see now that in many instances I did not hear what was being told or directed to me. Now that I look back, not only being ignorant of the law. I had a whole lot of blind “faith” in the judicial system and my public defender. I actually see my attorney shaking his head yes or no and I just thought that he knew best. Most of these times were during a bench meeting, collogue, or proffer. These ocured with both attorneys and the judge.

It’s been all coming back. I can picture the judge asking me “do you understand and agree with what has been told to you?” I remember my attorney telling me to just say yes your honor I understand. I look over to my defender and there he is shaking his head yes or no. I honestly thought that I had to agree with my lawer and what he said. Wow I feel like a blooming idiot for not knowing. During a week of trail and many of other orders and hearings I hardly heard anything but confusion.

 

I have been having a problem trying to get through to my family on the T.T.Y phone for the deaf and hearing impaired. I can’t seem to get through to the Florida relay operator. It’s been a while since I have asked the sarg. to put a workorder in on it to fix it. I will as the assistant warden of programs if he would look into it for me.

I do have a built-in telecoil in one of my hearing aids. This telecoil is designed to pick up the signal from the telephone only. But it is broke and D.O.C. will not pay for the option any more. I can hear my partys on the regular phone if I turn it up all the way and there is no one on the other phone.

I received a “D.R.” after nine years of being clean of any infraction on my record. The D.R. was for disobeying a verbal order. It was so confusing at that time. I was road beaten and had just gotten off the “cattle car”. But from seeing an audiolgist to have my one hearing aid fixed or replaced. So at that time I didn’t have this crucial stepping stone. So the commands spoken by officers now are lost in to a sea of garble. I was so confused at this time I had no hearing aids. Didn’t understand any communications when being interrigated during my brief encounter. I only heard mumblings and inappropriate degrading remarks. Which I refrain from quoting. This all came about during the inmate prossesing circus. I was trying to hear and follow orders being screemed out from “many” sources. The D.R.stood because the sarg. Lied on the D.R. and stated that I said that I heard the verbal order. Five inmates signed whitness statements saying thay didn’t hear no such order, how could he have heard it. So I got 30 days confinement. Before my time was up I got shiped as a confinement inmate back to *** for two surgeries.

I completed the America sign language class. And now I am an active facilitator for the class. I help the people who need a lot of help.

I have run into a lot of times misunderstanding words, getting them twisted around. Lately have been trying to stay to myself and God to keep out of trouble.

Well Pat I do have to apologize for taking so long in writing to you. You gave me a lot to think about, even though you haven’t written to me. “I would like some kind of response if you choose.”  Thank you.

*****   ******

Yay! Captions!

Our first installment in the ground-breaking video series, “Felix in His Own Words,” is now – finally – captioned for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Although the video is in the same location as before – on our scroll page – I have included the link, here.

http://deafinprison.wordpress.com/2012/06/30/felix-in-his-own-words-part-i/

Please note: On the right hand side of the control bar, you will find a button that allows for full screen viewing. If you view this video in the embedded mode – not full screen – you will need to move your mouse off the page. That will cause the control bar to disappear, allowing you to read the captions.

My thanks go out to Talila Lewis of H.E.A.R.D. for her efforts in convincing me of the necessity of this, and to NCAM for explaining the technical ins and outs. Above all, my special thanks go out to ME, who’s bleeding fingers and bleary eyes attest to how labor intensive and difficult a chore this is.

Although there are numerous turnkey solutions available, I found none of them to be satisfactory, and I ended up having to do it all manually, in the editing suite.

The second installment will be ready in a couple of days, and the upcoming third installment is at the interpreter’s, getting cooked. It – and all our future videos – will be captioned. A site dedicated to the well being of the Deaf needs to provide information that is accessible to the Deaf.

As to the written transcriptions – they will still be available, but in linked PDF format.

In the meantime, please enjoy “Felix in His Own Words – Part I” in all its captioned glory.

BitcoDavid

TSA Agents Laugh at Deaf Man – Reblogged from InfoWars.com

TSA agents at the Louisville, Kentucky airport laughed at a deaf man, called him “f***ing deafie,” and then stole his candy – another perfect example of why this loathsome federal agency needs to be abolished immediately.

Read more:

http://www.infowars.com/tsa-agents-laugh-at-deaf-man-call-him-fing-deafie-steal-his-candy/

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