Mr. Abreham Zemedageghu Case Study

Decent Essays
In searching for an article with a direct connection to the Deaf community I was shocked to see how many instances of Civil Rights violations have occurred recently in the United States. I could have easily referred to several stories that are similar to that of Mr. Abreham Zemedageghu.
In February of this year a homeless man named Abreham Zemedageghu, was jail for six taken to jail and held for six weeks with no way to communicate with his jailers because he is Deaf and was denied an interpreter. Mr Zemedageghu uses American Sign Language and has a very basic usage of written English. Here is where the problem really begins.
Not only did the Jail, located in Arlington Virginia, not provide him with an interpreter but they had only a TTY as an option. The TTY was a very high tech method of communication for the Deaf community in the 1960’s and a1970’s but is now seriously outdated. With the prevalence of smart phones and video phones most are relegated to attics and garages as a reminder of days gone by. Mr. Zemedageghu did not even understand why he was in jail for two days.
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§ 794, guarantees persons with disabilities equal access to any entity that receives federal financial assistance, either directly or indirectly. Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12141 et seq., now extends these same rights to inmates in all state and local facilities.
In the end I was disgusted by the frequency of this type of occurrence. It prompted me to search for an organization that deals specifically with the Deaf inmate population. I found HEARD which works on many different Deaf rights issues. From their website I learned that the number of Deaf inmates is not tracked in our penial system. How then are the rights of these people to be monitored and protected? It also leads me wonder what effect the privatization of the prison system will have, and what I can do to help the
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