Federal law requires all prisons to provide qualified interpreters for deaf inmates.
Without this, prisoners can't participate in education and self-help classes and communicate with guards.
But at the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility in Corcoran, where most of California’s deaf inmates are housed, inmates with hearing impairments are regularly denied access to interpreters, Mother Jones reports.
According to recent court filings in a long-running disability rights case known as Armstrong v. Brown, deaf prisoners run the risk of serving longer prison sentences.
Attorneys at the Prison Law Office filed a statement last month alleging that the facility has failed to offer interpreters for some Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous meetings, lifer groups, religious services, and educational and vocational programming.
Participation in these activities is one way for prisoners to show they are ready for parole.
One inmate, who showed up for meetings but couldn't understand the proceedings, was denied parole and told he would have to wait five years to apply again.
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