Yesterday marked the beginning of International Week of the Deaf, a.k.a. Deaf Awareness Week. To put a little bit of a different spin on this, I’m going to focus on one topic: deafness in prison populations. I first became aware of this special needs population through an excellent series on the blog CrimeDime earlier this summer. Written by the primary contributor to another blog I follow, DeafInPrison, the series of four articles provides a wealth of information and additional resources.
There are so many issues specific to deaf inmates that most of us probably have never thought of. For example, how do defend yourself if you can’t hear people sneaking up behind you? And how do you report abuse if you can’t tell anyone about it? I started my career doing forensic assessments, and my heart always skipped a beat when I walked into the assorted prisons and detention centers and holding facilities where the interviews were conducted. And I never took for granted that after my few hours “inside” I was able to just walk right out. As BitcoDavid points out in a recent post on Deaf in Prison – and something we should all keep in mind when working with any disability population – “There but for the grace of God, go I.”
Links to the four articles from Crime Dime:
Deaf In Prison: What Challenges Do Deaf Inmates Face? – June 5, 2012
Deaf In Prison: Being Deaf In A Society of Captives – June 13, 2012