Attorneys representing disabled prisoners and the Florida Department of Corrections have settled a lawsuit accusing the state of discriminating against prisoners who are deaf, blind or confined to wheelchairs, the Lakeland Ledger reports.
The lawsuit, claimed the prisons were in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
It also said corrections officials discriminated against disabled inmates by refusing to allow them to participate in services and programs available to other prisoners.
Under the settlement, finalized on Friday, the state has agreed to provide sign-language interpreters for deaf prisoners and to remove barriers for inmates who use wheelchairs.
The state will have four years to comply with federal laws protecting disabled individuals.
Randall Berg, executive director of the Florida Justice Institute, said the settlement was “a huge decision” for incarcerated people with disabilities.
“It will be a game changer for them,” Berg said during a telephone interview Monday.
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