Deaf Males and Sex Crime

By Joanne Greenberg

Deaf men are overly represented in prison for the commission of sex crimes. They are therefore more often the targets of prison cruelty from guards and other prisoners. I think this is the result of a closed world of Deafness, itself. We know that sex offenders are more usually made than born, having been assaulted themselves, during childhood. Other, bigger kids, in residential schools for the Deaf, rape girls and boys, and they have to encounter their tormentors throughout the school year – and often through life. Bullies can act with impunity. Who would tell on them, when there is no safe haven or refuge?

One sex abuser I know is, himself Deaf, and has been a teacher at a school for the Deaf. He abused many of his students. When finally charged with a rape, he did everything he could to impede the authorities – demanding different interpreters and declaring that without an interpreter suitable to his needs, and a lawyer fluent in Sign – not only Signed English, but also demotic ASL – he was not receiving equal justice.

Many minority individuals distrust the law so much that they will endure almost anything before calling “outside” for help. It’s only when the Deaf offender leaves that world – and commits offenses in the hearing world – that the offense comes to the attention of the law. By then however, the offender has habits that are entrenched and chronic. It’s not only a lack of knowledge of Deaf language and psychology that keeps Deaf prisoners far longer than hearing ones in prison, it is also the chronic nature of their offenses which makes for far longer sentences.

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.

 

New Webinars on Helping Survivors in Prison

By Pat Bliss

An organization called Just Detention International is planning a series of Webinars on helping inmate survivors of sexual abuse and rape. Understanding the Issue: An Overview of Sexual Abuse in Prison is the title of the first one, and it’s scheduled to occur on Monday, November 5, 2012, at 2:00 PM EST. There will be 2 more in the series.

Here’s the link to their Web site:

http://www.justdetention.org/

You can register there for these informative and enlightening seminars. Here’s the embedded PDF of their newsletter for September

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.

 

Deaf Awareness Week – Day 6, Felix Interview Section 7

Image courtesy of Pat Bliss

I’m glad to be able to finally bring you the 7th installment in our series with Felix Garcia, in prison, and being interviewed by Jim Ridgeway and Pat Bliss. As always, this intellectual property is under the explicit copyright of Jim Ridgeway and cannot be shared, downloaded or reblogged, but you are by all means, encouraged to share the link.

Producing these videos represents a tremendous amount of work, by all concerned, and it is for that reason that they take so long for us to make available to you.

In keeping with Deaf Awareness Week, and the fact that Yesterday, September 28th was Felix’s 51st birthday – his 30th behind bars, I would be deeply grateful if you would take just a moment to sign our petition, after viewing this moving and informative video.

http://deafinprison.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/deaf-awareness-week-day-5-happy-birthday-felix/

Links to the petition also can be found in both sidebars, and here’s a link to the actual petition site page.

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

So, without further ado, here’s Felix #7:

Inmate Letter Dated March 15th, 2012

Sadly, the original letter was barely legible. After a struggle, I managed to translate it – roughly – for you here. I tried to maintain the inmate’s voice, while working to make sense of it.

–Pat.

 

Hello to the peoples.

Thanks for your support of the deaf people who have suffered in prison for 20 up to 25 years in prison. Now, I have fought with this life in prison. Life is sorrowful with other inmates tricking me as inmates wrote a request form to put me in the hole (confinement) while I was not knowing how they tricked me locked me up for nothing.

Because the deaf person want to stay out of trouble or the deaf person can be beat [for] using sign language to communicate. Some other inmates don’t understand what deaf people talk about. Deaf people refuse to cooperate with troublemaker for making money from someone’s eles’s cell property. Then the hearing people took the request form to and wrote my room number on it. The Sergeant officer ordered deaf person to be handcuffed without knowing what happened just that you got to see the Captain in his office. Deaf person could not reach anyone to get an interpreter.

This the life of a deaf person… They are violating our civil rights… I have a problem, that I cannot find a way to write medical to explain I need surgery on my right elbow. Medical paperwork is hard to understand, the vocabulary deaf person cannot understand. It is hard to explain the problem to the doctor. It is tough to explain the power the doctor has.

The doctor knows that deaf person cannot write right and says “Aha!, Well inmate you gonna be alright or I can cut off your arm. It will be good.” So the deaf person say “Arghh, that can’t be, to cut off the arm!” Then deaf person gives up and that is how deaf person has been frustrated all these years. That is not fair for these hearing people com out with beautiful braces on their knee and already had surgery. The deaf people may never have good legs and arms. That is not fair. Also, I cannot afford to pay another person to explain to the doctor, it is hard to tell doctor the right answers. Only God know everything.

I am a little hearing impaired. I understand 10% when I hear a loud one I can hear words sometimes. I have been in prison for 22 years. I will have to go back to court real soon. I never went to the courtroom or communicated with the policeman in the situation.

Also, now I am in AA meetings. There is no interpreter, I will be filing a grievance soon. The medical staff has refused to give me ID card as Deaf and Hearing Impaired. They did give them where I came from.

Anyway, hope you enjoy reading my journey on these pages. Thank you.

Sexual Victimization Reported by Former State Prisoners, 2008

svrfsp08.pdf (application/pdf Object).

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