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November 15, 2002

Disabled Prison Inmates Sue State

From: KITV, HI
Nov. 15, 2002

Attorneys Say Disabled Inmates Unable To Follow Programs

HONOLULU -- Attorneys for disabled people said the state prison system is breaking federal law by not providing deaf and blind prisoners help to communicate.

Parolee Allan Kaufman is one of two disabled people suing the state. He said his blindness makes it hard to follow parole requirements.

One deaf woman inmate is back in prison because without a deaf interpreter she could not participate in required treatment programs.

"When you are put into a situation where the paroling authority says you must participate in this program, but they don't give you the interpreter to do that. That's fundamentally unfair bound to failure and its not incompliance with federal law," attorney Carl Varady said.

Attorneys Varady and Stan Levin have filed a class-action lawsuit against the prison system.

They said disabled inmates tend to spend more time in prison under higher security because the state doesn't help them overcome disabilities.

Copyright 2002 by All rights reserved.