Good day ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to your "Corrections and the ADA: Balancing the Rights of People with Disabilities while Incarcerated." At this time, all participants will be in a listen-only mode, but later we will conduct a question and answer session which instructions will be given at that time. If anyone should require audio assistance, you can press star then zero, and an audio operator will assist you. And as a reminder, today''s conference is being recorded. And now I''d like to introduce your host for today, Jim de Jong.
Good morning and afternoon to everyone and welcome to the ADA conference series. My name is Jim de Jong, and I''ll be serving as the moderator for the session today. This program is brought to you by the ADA National Network. The ADA audio conference series is offered monthly and covers a variety of topics related to the ADA. Today''s session is titled "Corrections and the ADA: Balancing the Rights of People with Disabilities while Incarcerated." And we are privileged to be joined by our presenter Elizabeth Stanosheck Jeanette. Elizabeth joins us from the Nebraska Department of Corrections. Elizabeth asked that I not read her bio, and I would just be remiss if I did not tell you that Liz is looked at by her colleagues across the country as an expert in this area. Liz has served as the ADA Coordinator for Nebraska Department of Corrections for well over a decade and has presented on internet satellite presentations and at numerous ADA symposiums. Individuals are joining us today using a variety of mediums, including telephone streaming audio on the internet and real-time captioning. Individuals may also view today''s PowerPoint presentation -well it will not be online, actually, today. You already have that downloaded. Our presenter will provide us with some valuable information today, and at the conclusion of Liz''s presentation, there will be an opportunity for everyone to ask questions. The operator will provide instructions when we are ready to take questions. Depending on the number of questions, we may not be able to address all of your issues of concerns today, but we then encourage you to follow up with questions to your regional ADA center at 1-800-949-4232, voice and TTY. So let me begin today''s session by introducing Liz and to let you know that this is posted at www.ada-audio.org website. The DBTAC-Great Plains ADA Center will provide the moderator, excuse me, I''m reading instructions. I will now turn the program over to Elizabeth. Thank you, Liz.
Thanks, Jim. Good morning and good afternoon to all of you. I''m very appreciative of the interest in this topic out there. It is a challenging, yet very rewarding position that we hold, and again, I thank you for joining us. I am going to be going through -my understanding is that you have the PowerPoint presentation in front of you, and I know sometimes that''s difficult, so what I will do is simply read the title page so that you know where I''m at, and then afterwards we''ll open it up for discussion. I''m going to start out with a brief historical overview of corrections. I think it''s an important overview to kind of let you know where we have come from. Corrections, a historical overview of corrections. Typically, the emphasis was physical punishment initially. The emphasis was on punishment, certainly not reform. Punishment was weeded out in a variety of ways, whether it be flogging, whipping, horrific ways. Quite frankly, they''ve said it was easier to meet your demise quickly in prison during the initial stages of the corrections being born in this country than it was to serve out your sentence. We then move to exile and transportation. And a 1597 English law authorized the transportation of inmates to newly discovered lands. Well, what that meant was to barren lands. And we actually were allowed inmates to be housed aboard hulks. When this proved impractical -quite frankly what it meant is it did not prove to be economical- they shifted to shipping them to Australia or shipping the inmates to New Wales, Norfolk Island, but what that meant was that they were isolated there. I''m going to move to the next slide about incarceration, and bondage itself was defined as any punishment that put severe restrictions on the condemned person''s freedom of action and movement, including but not limited to, imprisonment. That was the emphasis on corrections at that day. The first work house in England was called Bridewell. It became informal repository for those the community regarded as inconvenient or mentally ill. Individuals who had disabilities at that time often were incarcerated. The emergency of the more modern prison was quite frankly born in the 1600s. William Penn himself was incarcerated. He was incarcerated for a crime of espousing his faith. But he had a great emphasis on the philosophical shift away from the punishment of the body towards the punishment of the soul or the human spirit, which was quite frankly, the reformatory age, or the redemption age. The passage of laws preventing imprisonment of anyone, except those who were criminals, no longer those who were mentally ill, was born out of William Penn''s movement. Now, you might ask why I am discussing some of that, but I think it''s important to understand corrections as a whole is an entity that historically, and to some extent even today, the emphasis is on denying access. The emphasis is on controlling movement, on ensuring that there is great control in the environment in order to run a safe and secure facility. The ADA, on the other hand, is about granting access. So, when we talk about the balance of the ADA and corrections, sometimes that has proved to be difficult. I''m going to move to defining Supreme Court decisions, and some of the balance came from these Supreme Court decisions. The first one was in 1998, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections versus Yeskey. Yeskey was an inmate; he had committed a crime. Yeskey was given the option of being incarcerated in a facility or going to a work camp, or a boot camp, as people might understand it. Now, when you''re given the opportunity to go to a boot camp or a work ethic camp, often your sentence is reduced because it''s a more intensive program. So, Yeskey decided he would like to do that, but he had high blood pressure, extremely high blood pressure, so he was denied the option to go to the work ethic camp. And Yeskey decided that wasn''t right, so there was a lawsuit, and that was the first defining Supreme Court decision about corrections and the ADA. And the bottom line was Title II of the ADA, which prohibits a public entity from discriminating against a qualified individual with a disability, covers inmates in state prisons. Now, moving on to the next slide, I like this quote from the Yeskey decision: "One of the primary functions of government is the preservation of societal order through enforcement of the criminal law and the maintenance of penal institutions is an essential part of that task. It is difficult to imagine an activity in which a state has a stronger interest." So we were given clear direction from that particular case that corrections must comply with the ADA. But if you look at even that quote, it talks about the enforcement, and so, we had a long ways to go in 1998 to move the corrections mindset to allowing access in some cases, so that individuals understood, within the corrections system, that we were not jeopardizing security, but what we were doing is trying to balance the rights of the individuals who are incarcerated with the mindset, and the necessity, of a secure facility. Another Supreme Court, the second Supreme Court decision, and I''ve gone onto the next slide, was the United States versus Georgia et al. In this particular case, the bottom line ended up that inmates can sue for monetary damages in some instances. States do not have sovereign immunity under the ADA for disability-based constitutional violations in correctional settings. Those constitutional violations primarily, in a corrections world, are going to be the 8th and 14th amendments. And Goodman was an individual who was in a wheelchair. He was a paraplegic. He had committed a crime and he was incarcerated, but he was incarcerated in a relatively small room cell, and oftentimes he was unable to navigate so that he could transfer himself from the chair to another writing desk or to his toilet in order to take care of his hygiene needs. And, it was a fairly egregious case, but keep in mind this happened in this decade, and as I move on to the next slide in Goodman, this is a good quote that we should remember: "The deliberate refusal," now that''s "the deliberate refusal of prison officials to accommodate Goodman''s disability-related needs in such fundamentals as mobility, hygiene, medical care, and virtually all other prison programs constituted exclusion from participation in, or the denial of the benefits, programs, and activities." Now that''s straight from the ADA legislation. If you think about a correctional facility, while its emphasis is on incarceration, it is also on rehabilitation in our world today. And so we are offering programs, we are offering services, that''s what we do, and to exclude an individual from those programs or those services on the basis of a disability is proven to be very clearly against the ADA. So those two cases, Goodman and Yeskey, are cases that if you''ve not read them, I would take the time to do so. They have a great foundation for the ADA and corrections. We move to the next slide of why have formal policies? Now, are you obligated to have specific policies for accommodation requests? You''re not obligated to have a document that says, "I want you to write down your requests for an accommodation." It is helpful, but you are not obligated to have it. If policies are in place, however, they can be used for reference, and it is more likely that the request will be handled appropriately and will be handled consistently. In a correctional facility, I''m here to tell you that people wear many, many hats, and while typically they will only have one ADA coordinator, if they have an ADA coordinator, they must rely on individuals in the facilities to assist them. So those policies are very, very useful so that individuals can rely and refer upon them. It assists in the documentation of your efforts to comply with the ADA. When I talk about policies, I''m talking about administrative regulations, grievance processes, and I''ve noted in the other person litigation reformat, which most of you probably are aware of, but prior to an offender inmate being able to file a federal lawsuit, they must first exhaust the prison grievance procedure. So, the grievance procedure is critical, and it must be, typically you will have your ADA policy, your administrative regulation, and your grievance policy housed in your law library so that it''s very clearly accessible to inmates to refer to. We go to the next slide of policies and procedures. The ADA coordinator must serve in the capacity of both inmates and staff. Now, there''ve been a number of states, some are still under court orders, who have not done that. Some haven''t had ADA coordinators at all, and some have had just either for inmates, or just either for employees. You must have both. If you''ve not done the self-evaluation and, or a transition plan, you need to do one. Your local DBTAC can certainly help you. I also encourage you to work with your engineering or your maintenance divisions, because they most typically will be doing a biennium project where they''re identifying all of their physical plant alterations, updates, or whatever, and that''s a very helpful document to have. Your engineering or your billing division needs to be involved in that self-evaluation and transition plan. An ADA request for accommodation policy in the form of an administrative regulation or an operational memorandum, is again helpful, that request for accommodation though, keep in mind, does not have to be written. It can be verbal. The grievance procedure we''ve spoken about, training. Since you do have to rely on assistance, or more than likely you''re going to have to, it''s critical to provide some training to your staff. And I really recommend any correctional employee coming in is going to go through a pre-service training. That pre-service varies across the country, but typically, it''s about five weeks. If you don''t have an hour out of those five weeks, I would suggest that you try to get one. We do a one-hour of every new employee that walks in the door. So, my expectation certainly isn''t that they know enough to do this job, but they certainly know enough to know where to go to ask questions, and they know the basic premise. There are ACA standards, the American Correctional Association standards, that many states, in fact I think the majority of states in the United States, have enlisted their accreditation standards, and what that says-- the ACA has changed a little bit. They''ve made a greater emphasis on the ADA in the last ten years. We have an ACA standard that indicates not only where you have an ADA coordinator, but you will have a qualified ADA coordinator. So, in order to be compliant with that standard, you must provide the basic training that this individual has gone through in order to become an ADA coordinator. I''m hopeful that the day of tacking on the title of ADA coordinator to an existing position just to fulfill the obligation is winnowing. I hope anyway. At this time, I think we have four ACA standards that are related to the ADA, and at this time, they are all non-mandatory, but it is a very positive step forward. The next slide, how do you determine the ADA eligibility of inmates and, or staff, and some of this might be fairly basic for some of you, bear with me if it is. In order to make that determination, if it is not an obvious disability, obviously, you will need medical documentation. Now, with inmates, that is relatively easy because most of your correctional facilities will have medical documentation on that inmate. Now, the inmate may, and I''ve been in this situation, may say, "But you know what? I don''t agree with what medical here, at the correctional facility, is saying, and I have my own information, my personal information that does support my position." It is important, you know, you can have the inmate, and should have the inmate, provide that information to you. They can sign a release of information which will allow you to consult with an outside physician. That information might be very, very helpful to your facility physicians. So, if that does come up, I would encourage you not to simply say, "Well, this is just the way it is," because quite often, there is additional information that would be very helpful to both the facility physicians, as well as you, in making a determination. Obviously with employment, you''re going to have to have a release of medical information to request their information from their physicians or the treating physician. When you''re making that request, make sure that you allow that employee to understand that you''re only asking for the information that''s related to the issue at hand. You don''t want the entire file. I would be very specific about the letter that you write to that physician that this is in regard only to their job at this facility. I would encourage you to provide a written job description, if you have them, if not, at least an overview of the job expectations, and be sure to involve in there the training that''s required. Because quite frequently, we forget that piece. We say, "Can they do this job?" but then they come around to do their annual training and whether it''s weapons training, or self-defense training, or cell-extraction training, then they''re running into some difficulties again, so it''s very, very helpful if you provide that information. What we have done is had our staff training academy provide an overview of our training so that we can give that to the physician. So, again, that information should be only related to the work that they''re involved in. I, quite frankly, I don''t care if the employee signs a release of information that we have, or that they sign it at their doctor''s. They can do either one, as long as you''re able to get the information. Now, obviously the employee has the right to say, "I don''t want you to have my medical information," and if they do, that''s fine, but it''s very impossible then for you to make an ADA determination if the disability is not obvious. So I think you need to reassure them that while they have that right, you cannot help them if you do not have this information. And the tradeoff there goes to that last sentence about ensuring that the ADA medical information is in separate files, it does not become a part of the employee''s personnel file. It obviously becomes part of the inmate''s medical file because they''re wards of the state, but the employee needs to rest assured that this information is kept within the ADA office. So you want to try to assist them as much as possible to have a trust in you that this information''s going to be used to assist them. Can you get a second opinion? Yes, you can, but you have to be careful that you''re not just fishing for the right answer that you want. If the information from the treating physician is not clear, sure, or if it''s contrary in some way, then you certainly can. And we have done that in the past, and sometimes it has been helpful and sometimes it hasn''t, but you do have that option. I''m jumping around a little bit but I want to go back to part of the reason of why you''re going to make this request of information. That information is going to assist you greatly in the determination of what accommodation options are going to be helpful. It''s also supporting documentation for when you go to those that need to know, and don''t leave the medical documents with them, but those that need to know such as supervisors, why you need to do this, because there''s times that you''re going to be met with resistance, and you need to allow them to understand this is not your opinion, this is not the employee''s opinion, or the inmate''s opinion, this is a medical opinion to assist this person and that you''ve deemed it to be reasonable. Now, we''ve gotten to the request for the accommodation. What triggers a request for accommodation for an inmate or for an employee? And we talked a little bit about do you need to have a formal accommodation written document? While it''s helpful, you don''t need to, because what''s going to trigger that request for the accommodation is going to be that individual requesting something, and they can make that request of their supervisor, or they can make that request of you, but if that request is made, and that''s what is so critically important to provide at least a rudimentary training for all of your staff, because your employees may go to their supervisor and say, "I''m having trouble doing this because, this portion of my job because...," and so they may make that request to the supervisor, and the supervisor then needs to know this employee has asked for something, they''ve asked for it based upon a medical condition, and I need to get a hold of the ADA coordinator. It is critical to engage in the interactive process; that''s a piece that often gets overlooked, but that is a critical piece. The point of interactive process is that you need to sit down with the employee or the inmate and you need to have a discussion about what it is they need, why they need it, what assistance you can provide, who''s the best person to ask, what will assist them, is the individual living with the disability? They live with it, they know it, they know what will help them. Now that doesn''t mean that at the end of the day, that that specific request for an accommodation is going to be granted. It might be a different accommodation, but they''re guiding you in what assistance is out there, especially when it comes to technology. I''ve found that individuals, especially with hearing impairments or visual impairments, there''s so much technology out there that they are aware of that often I have not been, that that interactive process is just critical, and that interactive process is triggered when the request for an accommodation is made. And it doesn''t have to happen that very moment, but within a reasonable period of time, you need to get in touch with that person, and you need to sit down and you need to visit with them. Employee reasonable accommodation. One of the things that we do, and you''re not obligated to have this, but you have a light duty or modified duty policy, which will allow an individual to, at least for a period of time, continue to work, but perhaps work in a different position, modified or light duty. Oftentimes, we will have individuals who cannot have inmate contact for a period of time. Now, there''s a variety of reasons why that might happen. There''s mental health issues, there''s cancer treatment, someone is undergoing significant cancer treatment and they''re chronically fatigued, they''re just flat on their back, they can''t keep food down, but they''re intending to come back, so this light duty or modified duty''s very, very helpful during that period of time. Again, you''re not obligated to have it, it''s certainly separate from what the ADA itself, the regulations of the ADA, but it''s really an assistive device to keep people working, keep them in the routine of working, especially when it''s a situation where you know it''s more than likely going to be temporary, but it also provides a period of time if you recognize that the employee is not going to be able to return to the job that they were assigned to, or that they were hired into, that you have an option to keep them working while you look for another position for them as a reasonable accommodation. If you''ve gone that route, if you''ve decided at this point, there is no way that you can accommodate this person in their current job, you now have the obligation to look for open positions for which they''re qualified. And this allows them, during that period of time at which you''re looking for another job for them, for them to keep working and to keep having a paycheck coming in. It''s difficult in a correctional setting to assign to a different post where rotation is standard operating procedure, and that rotation is pretty much standard across the country for security. In security positions, you can''t become complacent, and the human condition is that we are all pretty rote in our habits, and so we rotate. We rotate different posts. You''re not obligated to say, "Well you can''t do this particular post, we''ll just not have you do it." For instance, "You can''t be in the tower, but you can do everything else." Well, if you have that rotating policy in place, the standard operating procedure, you''re not obligated to waive that, you might be able to accommodate it in some way, but you''re not obligated to waive that post. Because that''s essential to the operation of a secure facility. We have a lot of accommodation requests for mandatory training, for instance, weapons and self-defense. Again, when I spoke previously about your staff training academy, outlining and defining very clearly what that training is about. Self-defense, for instance, we do what''s called pressure-point control tactics. Well, can you accommodate that for an individual? I believe that you can. We try very hard to do that. What we do is we''ve looked at what does it take to successfully complete that training? And it takes a passing score. So, if you have a condition, permanent or temporary, for instance, let''s just say the condition allows, the doctor has said, "You can continue to work in this job and in an emergency, you can do this function, this essential function of self-defense in the job, but for you to go through two days, one day or two days of repetitive motion is going to cause difficulty in this person, and, or not only just difficulty but harm, then can you eliminate that one maneuver?" We have twelve main maneuvers in our pressure-point control tactics self-defense training, so we do allow individuals to articulate three out of those twelve main maneuvers. You aren''t only going to use one of those maneuvers when you are subduing an individual that you need to subdue. So, the need to know all twelve is certainly good and helpful, and you may be, you may know that very well, but you can articulate it without doing additional harm to yourself. So there are ways to accommodate those mandatory training issues. Be very clear on your essential versus non-essential functions. You may even want to do a job task analysis of those essential versus non-essential functions so that you''re certain that what you''re accommodating is an essential function. The key is to eliminate barriers in the work environment that do not create an undue hardship; and always remember that''s a case-by-case determination. Whether that''s an inmate or whether that''s an employee, that is a case-by-case determination. So what fits for one individual may not fit for that other one. And I often hear, "But we might be setting a precedent." Well, if that individual, if their case is identical to the next case, that may be a concern. I''m not as concerned about that, and others may be but I''m not, because again, you have latitude under the ADA; it is a case-by-case basis. Excuse me. The next slide talks about how the ADA impacts security. Specifically, we''re going to talk about the direct-threat concept under the ADA. I think initially when the ADA was signed into law, the corrections had a great concern about security issues, but the direct-threat element within the ADA regulation ensures that security will not be jeopardized. But keep in mind, direct threat is defined as a significant or a substantial harm to oneself or to others that cannot be reduced, or cannot be eliminated, is applicable to both inmate and employee issues. When you talk about inmates, you might be talking about a work assignment. Are you putting them in a work area which could potentially cause them harm or others harm? You''ve got an obligation to have a safe work environment, but when you''re talking about the direct-threat consideration, you need to consider, I''m going to the direct-threat considerations, the nature of the risk, how harmful is that risk, the severity of the potential harm that could occur, the eminence or the likelihood of that harm, the duration of the risk, is it short-term, is it long-term, must be an individualized assessment based upon reasonable medical judgment, rather than based upon stereotypes or assumptions about disabilities. The advisability of any reasonable accommodations or other steps that might reduce or eliminate the risk. If you can reduce the risk, if you can reduce the harm, you''ve got an obligation to look at what you can do to reduce that harm or that risk. You know, we have inmates who wear prosthetic devices. Under direct threat issue, I''ve had the complaint that "Well that can be used as a weapon. They can take it off and they can use that as a weapon," and that''s true, but we''re not going to take that position from jump street. What we''re going to do, and we''ve had it happen, where we''ve had an inmate who had a prosthetic leg, who continued to use it as a weapon, and did cause harm. Well, we ended up taking the prosthetic device away and gave him a wheelchair. Do not be afraid to use the discipline process. You must provide mobility to that individual, but if they''re using it to do harm, then you have the right to take that away. But you need to make sure that you''re not basing your decision on a stereotype or on a fear, unfounded fear. I''m going to have to move along here, because I see our time clicking away, but let''s talk about program access for inmates. You have an obligation, maybe that''s your primary obligation as you look at a correctional facility that provides programming. You have an obligation to ensure program access to the inmates who are qualified for the program or to the service for which they seek access. That may mean moving a program to a more accessible area, it may mean having an interpreter there for individuals. It could mean a variety of things, but if the individual is qualified for that program, you need to ensure that they are able to have access. Educational programs need to be considered. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act needs to be plugged in if you''re dealing with youthful offenders. That''s part B of the idea, and that deals with ages 3 to 21. We have our own high school here, so we are very mindful of that, but if you''ve got education programs of youth, ages 3 to 21, which you''re looking at probably 16 to 21 years of age, if you have a youth-centered facility, don''t neglect that piece of it. Ensure effective communication is provided. You may need to provide alternative formats, you may need interpreters, you may need readers, you may need to provide additional time. Partner up with your Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. They are invaluable, they''re an invaluable resource. They can help you in areas of technology, they can help you in areas of assisting potentially an inmate who comes in who is deaf. It''s a difficult transition for them to come into a facility, a correctional facility, and to be deaf. But if you bring someone in from the Commission, they can assist you in that transition. We have a very good partnership in Nebraska with our Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. I would encourage you to seek them out. I''ll talk about educational programming. If you look at the population of inmates, a large, large percentage of them do have either learning disabilities, or some mental health issues, or addiction issues. So when you''re talking about your education programming, I''ve found a number of individuals in our education programs who are dyslexic. It''s often called the hidden disability in prison. ADD, ADHD, autism, wherever they land on the spectrum, often these are disabilities that if an inmate is incarcerated, or an inmate who is incarcerated, doesn''t want to admit to. The prison environment is not one where you want to admit weaknesses, but if we don''t check into these, if we don''t discover these, then we are not assisting the inmate in the educational programming to the degree that we need to. The ADA compliance is vital to understand why they have difficulty in learning. This may be their second chance to succeed. We''re very big on the GED program here, and in order to assist them to learn the best that they can, you need to gather their records, their educational records if they have them, and if you''re not able to get them, then you may need to get an educational psychologist to assist them to give you an evaluation of what type of learning disability they might have. Understanding will allow for an appropriate planning for the inmates'' programming. Statistically, one half of inmates are at or below level one in reading; that''s an 11-year-old. Two thirds are below level one in math, four fifths are below level one in writing. If you look at that in reading and writing, and those are communication tools, if you''re not able to communicate effectively, you''re not going to succeed, so we need to look at that very, very seriously. Thirty percent, excuse me, of inmates were truant on a regular basis. These are quotes of a study of 2001: "Inmates who do not participate in education or training of some type are three times more likely to reoffend." Now we can take the position that that isn''t our obligation. Let me go to the costs to society as a whole. The cost of not doing so has a social economic, as well as the societal impact. Education and training may equate into employment, employment equates into lower recidivism rates, and at an annual cost of housing on average, just in Nebraska of 32,000 a year for adult inmates under the age of 19 is 67,000 dollars a year. If we do not assist the inmate in the programming to be successful in the programmings that we offer, we have a larger bill to pay in having them return to prison.
access to diagnostic assessments to offer proper response. Again, what''s their learning style? What format do they need? And if you need to gather those, the records are really pretty easy to get from their last educational facility, but we have a lot of inmates who are entered into GED programs who are over the age of 40, it was much, a little more difficult to get them at that point, often they weren''t even done, or if the inmate dropped out. But, again, to get a good assessment, you may need to get an educational psychologist to do that for you. You may need special teaching strategies. Consult with your Department of Ed. It''s very, very helpful to have their input and they are more than willing to help. Again, these are state departments that you can utilize so that you''re not paying consultants. You may need an individualized approach that is proven to work with dyslexia. You may need to provide more time for tasks or provide a scribe or a reader. Those are pretty basics. Move to the next accessible rooms in communication for inmates. Ensure your design is in line with accessible standards. Same features as other cells with similar classification. And it needs to be dispersed throughout the facility, not just you''re going to put everyone in this one particular area. Those designs, the new ADAAG that''s come out, it''s still 3% of your rooms need to be accessible. Your programming and work assignments should be in line with your housing assignment. For instance, if you have an inmate with a mobility issue, and let''s say they work in the law library, well they''re in a housing unit that, where they have to walk full distance of the yard. Now, sometimes that''s difficult because you have to, they''re going to be assigned based upon their classification. But if at all possible, when you''re making those work assignments and when you''re making those housing assignments, try to coordinate that effort so that inmates with disabilities are housed close to their work assignments, if possible. Sign language interpreters for effective communication standard. We have tapped in a little bit to remote language interpreters, the video, I haven''t done a lot of that yet, but I''m hopeful that that''s going to be a nice option for us. It''s not uncommon for a number of interpreters from the community to not be comfortable going into a facility. If that is the case, the remote sign language interpreter may be an option for you. And again, you can check with your Commission, your State Commission, excuse me, for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and they can help you with that. Hearing aid issues. Often facilities are a little touchy about bringing in their own personal hearing aids. We''ve overcome that, but you must provide them at least one hearing aid. Obviously, alternative format of Braille, large-print materials in the library to make sure that the administrative regulations that relate to the inmates, those that you do have available to the inmates, that if they need it in large-print, or if they need it in Braille, that you are able to provide that for them. And I''ve spoken about this before, but that interface with your facility maintenance staff is just critical. If you can work with them in designing your facilities and in new construction or alterations of your facilities, they''re an invaluable asset to you. You need to be in direct communication with your facility maintenance staff. They''re going to be the people who are going to assist you when you come in and you say, "We have a new inmate coming in, they''re going to be housed in this area, and we need to get this 3-inch lip on the shower down, and I realize that''s going to cause problems with drainage, but you need to help me to figure out how to do this." Enlist their help. Don''t just tell them this has to be done, enlist their help. I think you''ll find that they''re going to be very, very helpful to you. Medical treatment of inmates. Again, not only interfacing with your maintenance staff, but interface with your medical staff. Get to know them one-on-one. They''re the ones that are going to help you identify the needs of the individual with the disability. When an individual comes into a facility, they''re going to go into a diagnostic and evaluation center, and it''s at that point that you want to be able to identify those who have specific needs. Your medical staff is going to be assisting you in identifying those individuals, and even if you just have an e-mail system that says, "We have a new inmate. This inmate has visual impairment, can you come visit with them and see what they need?" Develop that relationship. You may run into complaints between the inmates and medical quite often, and you know, you never say, "It''s always just the inmate," or "It''s always medical." It is a combination, but that''s where you need to have a really good communication line, direct line to your medical staff so that you can pick up the phone and say, "Well, you know, this individual is saying that they need different shoes," let''s say, "because their activity level is higher, they''re using a prosthetic foot and their activity level is much higher than what it is, than what that particular foot is rated for." Well, your medical staff, if you''ve got a direct line to them, is going to give you great information, you''re going to be able to understand what they''re doing and prescribing and the rationale for what they''re doing, so that you can have a good relationship. And don''t be afraid, don''t be afraid to have the inmate and your medical staff sit down in a meeting with you, and to try to develop the best plan possible. We, you know, it''s facilities, we have our own little stores, ensure that your canteen products include sugar-free food for individuals who might have diabetes so that it''s not just that they go over there and the only thing they can buy isn''t going to be good for them. So, take a look at your store menu, and see what''s available. One of the big issues that''s going to be affecting corrections is the post-traumatic stress disorder. National Center for PTSD estimates 30% of men and women who spent time in a war zone experience PSTD. Women are twice as likely. Corrections tends to hire military staff. The symptoms to be looking for are intrusive thoughts, avoidance of situations associated with trauma, which might be inmates, just a general numbness or a detachment, and that detachment''s not going to be good in a correctional facility where you have to be looking for detail. You have to be looking for those small nuances of things in order to ensure that the facility is going to be safe and secure. Symptoms don''t always begin right away. They usually begin three to six months, sometimes cases where they begin years later. Don''t be afraid to ask an individual if you can help them, if you notice that they''re having difficulty in their job. EEOC trends in inmate requests. Diabetes is a big issue with our inmates. As many of you who work in a correctional facility know, that oftentimes the individuals that come to us have not taken good care of themselves. But you have to look at this also. We, from an employment perspective, we have a number of individuals with diabetes. And so, with the inmates, make sure that there''s timeliness in meals, make sure they''ve got the appropriate shoes, that they''re allowed to glucose test, how, when, or where you do that. We actually allow some of our inmates to carry their own testing materials. With an employee, you know, you might be mindful of what shift that they''re on, make sure that they have access to food and obviously their insulin if it''s necessary. Make sure there''s a continuity of meds, transferring from one facility to another. Maybe their meds change, but make sure that when they''ve transferred, that the other institution''s fully aware of the needs of that inmate. Work assignments again, accessible transportation and location. Effective communication. That''s one of the trends that EEOC gave me. The staff may not believe an inmate cannot hear. These are examples of some of the cases that have come forward. That there''s just an assumption that that inmate can read lips, and that''s not always the case. Be sure that you''re providing extra time for the use of telephonic device for the deaf. One of the, we''re getting some younger inmates who are used to the video TTY, and they say that''s what they use and that''s what they''re used to. Well, we don''t have that yet, and it''s in large part because of the cost, but we certainly provide the telephonic devices for the deaf, and we allow additional time. Availability of the TTY, the extra time, the keyboarding ability. Some of our older inmates are not good at keyboarding, so we want to make sure that they have additional time. Inmate trends again, hygiene, the inmate may need extra time in the shower, especially for aging inmate population. You might well look at push-button water controls as opposed to the handles. Disability issues that occur during the act of crime and the individual''s never learned how to deal with the disability prior to the incarceration. That''s a very difficult situation. We''ve actually had that case. We''ve had to do some significant physical therapy for the individual, but even greater than that was that mental health issue, because the individual is just trying to learn how to live in this new body, and they''re having to do that in prison. It''s a difficult, difficult thing to do. So ensure that if you ever have that situation, that you''re looking out for the best mental health needs of that individual. Other inmate trends, we''ve had a number of complaints about the size of the television. You''re giving closed captioning, but sometimes the only size of the television you like for your inmates is so small that the captioning covers up the whole screen, so as I''ve been told, a 13-inch minimum. There''s the challenge of service animals. Service animals do allow for the inmate to become more self-sufficient, and, or the employee, and what concerns you have out there, I''ve had a lot of concerns brought forward about the animal and they need to understand that any service animal is very, very well trained, so that''s kind of an unfounded fear. If you have canine programs where the inmates are training the animals, you shouldn''t be afraid to allow them to have a service animal of their own or for the employee to have a service animal. Aging population is a very big issue out there. One of the things that we''re looking at, that I think some other states have done, is looking at a vocational training of having a CNA license for our inmates, and those inmates then will be very well trained and able then to assist other inmates. You know, you have to be careful that you don''t put inmates in positions of being able to be over authority of another inmate so that you''re getting favors passed back and forth, but I believe, if you''ll look at this closely, the inmates who are trained and are provided a well respected and good paying job, that they take that to heart, and it''s an assistive device both ways. So that''s one thing to think about, but we, our medical costs are certainly increasing, but make sure that you, or at least try as much as you can, that you''re looking at the aging inmate population as a whole perspective. The dementia issue is pretty big right now and it''s a tough case for corrections, but it can be dealt with. Probation and parolees, plea agreements or house detention, and alternative formats. Make sure that your parolees or that your probationers have what they need in the format that they need. And I guess I''m looking at the clock and thinking that I''ve gone quite a bit over, or not too much over, maybe five minutes over. I want to allow for questions, so Jim do we go to questions?
Yes, we do.
Ok, so ladies and gentlemen, at this time, if you have a question or comment, press the star then 1 key on your touch-tone telephone. Again, ladies and gentlemen, if you have a question or comment, press the star then 1 key on your touch-tone telephone. And I''m showing a couple of questions coming in. Our first is from Jackie Hookerman.
Are we on? Ok, I just had a question. Going to, when you''re talking about the ADA, you focus a lot with employees. How about those inmates who actually have work assignments, do their ADA rights extend to their work assignments when it comes to accommodations?
Yes, because the work assignments are considered part of the programs and services of your correctional facility. You need to look at, if your philosophy is that your inmates need to work, and so you provide work assignments to all of your inmates, then it makes sense because you''ve decided that work is good for the inmate, and that it''s a good policy, it''s a good service to provide, it''s a good program to have, whether it''s for the inmate to just keep busy, or whether it''s for restitution, whatever it is, you''ve decided as a facility that we are going to assign inmates to a job. So if you''re doing that as a facility, then yes, you need to say ok. Now, the individual''s got to be qualified, you know, you''ve got to make sure that the individual, the inmate that''s seeking employment is qualified for whatever position that you''re putting them in. But, for instance, we had an inmate who had significant mobility issues, but wanted to work in the woodworking area, and one of the difficulties with that is that we had the tools in such an area that it was very difficult for him to reach them, and we just rearranged. It was a fairly simple thing, because that was essential to him, to have those woodworking tools in order to be successful in that job.
Do you see a lot of Title I cases versus Title II?
Ok. And we have one more question here from another individual in our office.
Ok, thanks. This is a real specific one regarding an individual who, prior to incarceration, was in some sort of an accident. He needed to have a brace fitted. He needed to have physical therapy, and also needed a specific type of shoe to fit that brace. All of those, the shoe and the physical therapy, were denied by the prison medical staff, and what remedy or resources are available to that particular person and would the Department of Justice Office of Civil Rights within the Department of Justice be able to help this individual?
And you''re talking about an inmate?
Well, you know, I, it''s going to go to what standard of care are you obligated to provide. In Nebraska, we''re obligated to provide a community standard of care, and if your medical department is saying that this individual does not need any of that, I think I''d go to one of the things that I tried to touch on a little bit, is there additional information that you can obtain on this individual? They''ve been out in the community, obviously prior to their incarceration, they, I''m presuming, they sought medical treatment. And the inmate can sign a release to allow you to get those medical documents, and then allow the facility to look at those medical documents. The inmate''s got to give you permission, but if they do, then that might provide the medical staff another opinion. Now, the medical staff could still take the position, and I don''t know this, but they could still take the position, "Well that''s the Cadillac treatment, and they don''t need it, and all we''re obligated to provide is the community standard of care." I don''t know, because I don''t, you know, I don''t know which state or where you''re at, and I might not know anyway, the specifics of your state, but again, for us, it would be a community standard of care, and if the inmate can show that the community standard of care and reasonableness is not being provided, well then I think you''ve got something to talk about. There are specific shoes that are needed for individuals either with a prosthesis or a brace, and sometimes you have to convince the medical staff that it makes more sense to purchase a really good shoe that works with that brace or that prosthesis one time, as opposed to having to buy two or three in a year because they''re less expensive, but they''re not durable enough to work with the device that they need. I know that might not be getting directly at you wanted me to say. There''s a lot of variables, I''m sure, in that case that would need to be looked at, but I would sure go to what''s the standard of care that''s obligated in that particular state. I would look at the medical records that that individual had prior to being incarcerated. I would share those with the medical staff. I would ask the medical staff at that point what the justification is for denying this. And I would not be afraid to sit down with the medical staff and the inmate in the same room, and try to work out a good plan that''s going to assist the inmate to be successful.
Elizabeth, I think part of the question also was a question of, is that a situation where an individual, if they were denied this or ran into a dead-end at every point, the inmate could file a complaint with the Department of Justice?
Certainly they can.
They can, I mean, you know, they''ve got to exhaust their remedies, they''ve got to exhaust their grievance remedies, their...
Internal to the prison first and then go forward to DOJ, correct?
Right. And I would hope that the ADA coordinator''s kind of following along the way, and hopefully trying to navigate those waters, and the inmate has the right to know, when you do have a grievance, if this does not turn out the way they want it, you know, here''s the grievance procedure, you have the right to file that, and after that you have the right to exhaust all other remedies available to you.
Did that answer your question, sir?
Yes, thank you.
Thank you, and we''ll take our next question coming from Nina Edwards.
Good afternoon. My question is relating to visitors, actually. Something we haven''t talked about yet. We ran into some problems where, we have sort of split policy at this point, and I''m not sure whether it''s a correct policy, where people who use wheelchairs, visitors who use wheelchairs, but who can get out of their wheelchairs to go through a magnometer for security, you know, security screening, can be allowed a contact visit versus inmate, excuse me, visitors who cannot get out of their wheelchairs can''t be thoroughly screened by the magnometer and are sometimes allowed and sometimes not allowed either a contact visit or a non-contact visit. I''m curious as to how folks out there are handling that scenario, and if they are requiring, or allowing a contact visit, is it acceptable to require medical documentation to prove that a wheelchair, such a wheelchair, is necessary?
Yeah, a mouthful.
You''ve got a few layers there, Nina, but I guess I would go to first, the facility allows visitors because they believe, I''m presuming, because most facilities allow visitors because they believe it''s important to maintain contact...
...with either families or friends, and that''s part of the rehabilitation, and part, quite frankly, part of the re-entry, when the inmate is released. So those are all good things, and so the facility said, "We believe this to be a good thing." If we believe it to be a good thing, we should try everything we can to make it work. So, if someone''s in a wheelchair and they''re unable to stand, do you have a wand?
Yeah, there are other methods, but they''re saying, we''re debating whether those alternatives are as viable as, you know, as a magnometer, because you can''t use the wand necessarily on the wheelchair, you can use it on the person, but you still can''t thoroughly check the wheelchair. And is that being discriminatory or is that, you know, is that a security concern that should override ADA?
Well, what I would, I mean, if the individual can transfer to a chair, then search the wheelchair, you know. Because you do have the right to search things coming in, you do have that right. We, you know, you search babies'' diapers. It''s a very intrusive, intrusive thing...
...that goes to, this is a prison. So, I would have a chair for the individual to transfer into, search the wheelchair just as with the wand thoroughly, and allow them to transfer back to the chair. I think...
Ok. What if they are not able to do that? What if it''s a power wheelchair?
It''s a power wheelchair.
A motor, it''s you know, it''s a motorized wheelchair or somebody who has a manual chair but really is not able to transfer in and out readily and staff do not want to get involved in helping them transfer?
Right. Well, and that would be, I don''t think you''d want necessarily the staff to do that.
If someone can''t transfer and you, what I would do is I would ask them, "Do you have someone who could assist you and who could come with you?" And if again you run into a barrier and they say, "No, I don''t," and you don''t have video visitation, and they probably want face-to-face visitation.
Right, but I mean we can still have, allow a non-contact visit that''s face-to-face, but not, you know, no physical contact, and you know, the question is, can we, you know, is it discriminatory to make that distinction, you know, for somebody, or penalize somebody who happens to not be able to get out of their wheelchair?
Right. Well, I would exhaust all options for assisting them out of that chair.
You can bring someone in, as long as they can meet the visitors'' list, and they will assist you to transfer to this particular chair while we search your wheelchair. We, you could potentially have one of your nurses come down and do that. If this individual gave you authority to do that, then I think corrections would probably cringe at that, and probably cringe at me saying that. So, but I would certainly exhaust all options. I would ask security what, why you believe using the wand is not as effective as being able to, you know, the run...
Excuse me, Elizabeth, this is Celestine and this is really, really an interesting question, and I was wondering if it would be better if we, if you went to your local ADA regional ADA to explore this a little bit more, because I think that this is a question that really bears a lot of attention.
Well I think it does too, but I think you really have to go to, we believe this to be a good policy, we believe visitation to be a good policy and we need to do everything that we possibly can to allow it to occur.
And it isn''t an easy answer, and Celestine I still say I think you were probably right. We do actually have a policy in searching wheelchairs, and our policy states that if they can transfer, we will search it, you know, with them transferring. If they cannot transfer, then they are allowed the opportunity to bring someone in who can assist them in transferring.
Ok, and they''re allowed a contact visit?
And if I could just add, this is Jim DeYoung, the moderator, is that Liz is speaking about the Nebraska situation, and correct me Liz if I''m wrong, but this will vary state to state.
So, it may be facility-to-facility, or class, a security level.
Correct. Right. So, that I think we have to look at that, as well as then we have to look at the fact of, an actual legal interpretation, I don''t think we want to put Liz on the spot for that because she''s not professing to be an attorney but that is something you can request, I think as Celestine indicated, in talking with your local ADA center, as well as with the Department of Justice.
Ok. Ok, thank you very much.
You know, and Millie Nelson at the Department of Justice would be a good resource for you.
Millie Nelson, ok. Thank you very much.
Are we ready for our next question?
Ok, we''ll take our next question from Buna Dahal.
Hi Liz. It was a great presentation, thank you very much. I appreciate you touching upon the service animals. Do you mind a little bit talking about inmates who are blind and visually impaired and the policy with the white canes?
Well, our policy, and again this is Nebraska, is they, individuals who are blind, are allowed to have their canes. Now, I will tell you, we have had an instance where an individual with a cane did use it to harm another person. And so, what we did is they went through the same discipline process that they would if they picked up something off of the ground and harmed another person. So, we cannot allow, you know, it to be used as a weapon. But, we have a policy that unless it''s being used inappropriately, that it''s absolutely fine to have it.
Thank you very much.
Thank you, and we''ll take our next question coming from Scott Listener.
I was wondering, I teach a domestic violence class at the prison, and I have had people who have been deaf, or they spoke another language, and the ADA person provided an inmate to interpret. Is that ok?
And this is a voluntary class I''m presuming?
Yeah, I would not want that, I would say no, if it was educational, legal, or medical. No. If it''s a voluntary community-sponsored class and there is someone there who is effective, then we have allowed that as well. And that goes to it''s voluntary. There''s no obligation for them to attend, there''s no benefit for them in terms of changes in classification or programmatic issues related to the facility. Now, if it becomes a part of their treatment plan, if they''re in a residential treatment plan and taking those classes becomes a part of that plan, then I would get an interpreter who was licensed.
I really hate to argue with the expert, but I have a follow-up question. This is Scott Listener from the same site. Even if it''s a volunteer program that''s sponsored by the prison or supported by the prison, and you can''t get inside the doors if they''re not supporting you, I would think you''d be obligated to make it accessible under the ADA. I think the word that was key in what you said was, is the interpreting effective?
And it''s possible that another inmate has the right skill level to be able to do that, unlikely, but possible, and would be more appropriate then, or you know, reasonable as an alternative to bringing in an interpreter, but I think the key would be, if it''s going on in the system, voluntary or involuntary, my read would be it''s still a program of the system.
I don''t disagree with you. We have taken this issue to our legal council, and it has gone to the very issue of we allow individuals from the community to come in, and as long as the program is being run appropriately, that we do that just strictly voluntary. And, you''re right, we''ve got oversight of it, but the obligation, now again, this is our legal council''s interpretation, to provide a licensed interpreter is going to go to those programs that are sponsored by the facility. And the voluntary programs that come in, and again, I''m not disagreeing with you, I''m not disagreeing with you, we don''t, we have control over only to a degree. We look at the material, we approve the individual who''s coming in. They''ve got to, you know, be on the list to be able to be approved to come in, but it is strictly voluntary, whether the inmate wants to go, doesn''t want to go, and I think the cleanest way is to have the interpreter, but you''re going to find a lot of states who will say, "We do not, financially, we cannot do that." And if we''re doing a voluntary program and we have someone, an employee, I''ve seen states use employees for their voluntary programs. And I guess, I''m just taking the advice of our legal council, but another state may take a different position on that.
I suppose that''s one where we should end with: talk to your local council.
I think that''s advisable.
I think one of the questions I''d have on that, Liz, and also to Scott, would be are you aware of any court decisions on that particular aspect of corrections?
That''s a good question, and I am not, but that doesn''t mean they are not out there, and that''s one of the things that our legal council was looking at as well.
I don''t know how this is going to play to the national audience. I work in a higher education setting, not a prison, although there''s a lot of parallel. And, while I don''t know of a court case with corrections in particular, voluntary programs that weve led on our campuses, and that we sponsor as a Title II entity, in any way, that we give any kind of support to, we have an, and you know, putting them on, advertising them, letting our students get to them, are all things defined as support. We have an obligation to either say, "They have to be accessible, or they have to not be here." We can transfer that cost to somebody who comes to our campus by making it their responsibility potentially, but we can''t continue to interact and support a program, voluntary or otherwise, that doesn''t provide access, and so that''s the parallel I would follow.
And looking at a Title II entity, I don''t think we can argue the general concept. I think what we''re stating is, has it been applied to the prisons yet with any sort of court enforcement?
And that I''m not sure of.
Can we go on? And good point and good discussion. Can we go on to the next question?
Do I have the operator?
Yes, I''m here.
Ok, we''ll take our next question from Roxanne Viera.
Hello there. I am interested in hearing a little bit about the issue of specialized diets as accommodations. Our correctional facilities are fairly familiar with diets for people with diabetes or high blood pressure, that sort of thing, but we''ve had some scenarios involving highly individualized concerns, such as Crohn''s disease, and celiac conditions that they sound very problematic. What''s been your experience with that sort of thing?
Well I think you''ll find that those two conditions, specifically, if you look at the new ADA amendments, talk about, you know, the whole system, and those two conditions affect the whole system, the whole physical system, the whole body system, and again, your medical staff is a critical piece here to interface with, and that there be a medical order for a special diet, and if there''s a medical order for that special diet based upon that diagnosis, then you must provide it.
Does that answer your question?
It does. And our, I think our issue has mainly been that disconnect, you know, between the medical folk, and the food service folks, so...
And that''s not unusual, and you know, prisons are a system, but each piece of that system, you know, has its own function that sometimes they just focus on their own function because they''re so busy and there''s so much going on, and whether we like it or not, I think it''s often the obligation of the ADA coordinator to bring those pieces together. I''m a big proponent of having everybody in one room and have a meeting and get all the issues out on the table. But, the bottom, at the end of the day, if there''s a medical need for this specialized diet, then they need to provide that.
I agree. Thank you.
Thank you, Liz. Next question?
Jim, before we go forward, we have a question from the audio streaming.
And this question is from Jay Janice and he says, "Many states have, and more continue to outsource their corrections facilities'' responsibilities to private vendors, bidders, and contractors. Therefore, with whom would any ADA violations thus be liable? The state of their contract with vendors, bidders, or contractors?
Well you''re kind of getting into a legal question there, that I, you know, again, I''m not an attorney, and, but what I would just simply say, you can''t contract away your obligations.
So, I would defer to, that''s getting kind of legal, but I would defer that to, again, you can''t contract away your obligations and you still, you know, I''d be uncomfortable answering what appears to be a legal question.
Right. That would be a good question to refer to his local ADA center.
And just a reminder, you can reach that center at 800-949-4232.
We''ll take our next question. And the next question from the phone is coming from Curtis Motiyama.
I wanted to know what problems, if any, have you or others encountered by allowing service animals for inmates.
Well, to date, we have only had one, and we haven''t run into any problems, we didn''t. You know, that doesn''t mean that something couldn''t happen in the future, but again I think sometimes the fear is based upon misinformation or no information. And, you know, to educate whomever the road block is, to understand that these service animals are very highly trained. I had someone suggest to me, well what if the animal bites somebody. That''s highly unlikely given the training that that dog has gone through. We have more instances of inmates biting each other than animals doing it. We have a canine program, so we really have not run into a road block. I know other states that are trying to get there and are struggling a little bit, but I don''t know of specific road blocks because we haven''t run into them here, other than a lot of it is misinformation. So that education piece needs to play in what does a service animal do, what is the training of a service animal, how can it assist the individual? Having a service animal, quite frankly, is going to assist the facility economically, because what the service animal does, you would have, quite often, the need for an officer to be doing, or some staff person to be doing. So it''s a great assistance to the facility as a whole.
And thank you. And our next question''s coming from Kursita Gonzalez.
Yes, hello. I would like to thank you for your presentation. It''s very, very good.
I just wanted to make a comment, not a question, and it''s kind of ironic because the topic just came up about the service animals. As a person with three things, I have a hearing disability, and I''m also a criminal justice graduate, and I''m a big animal advocate and lover, and I certainly support the idea of having service animals in the prison institutions. It certainly is a benefit, and I have done many research on this, and there''s tons of articles out there that support this, and I wish more institutions would allow this. So, do you see a trend that maybe, perhaps, this would be a growing trend? In your opinion?
Well, you know, I don''t know for sure, but I agree with you. I think, again, I think if we go back to the concept that what that service animal does and how much assistance that service animal provides so that the staff doesn''t have to do it. You know, I think that piece is a big, big emphasis, but there is a large trend for correctional facilities across the country to train animals, whether that''s, they''re training them to be service animals, or that they''re taking the animals from the humane society, sort of those last-chance animals, and I think that''s, that program''s, well we have one where the animal has not been adopted, is on that short-list, and the animal comes to us and inmates are chosen to train that animal, and it has a, I''m sure in your research you''ve seen it, has a great calming effect upon the inmate.
Exactly, exactly. And it also boosts their morale.
A number of inmates have said this is the first lesson in unconditional love, and it''s very therapeutic. I, if I were to guess, I would see that it is going to be a trend that''s going to occur for multiple reasons, from the behavior of the inmate to the assistance that the service animal itself can provide, and just the general, I guess, knowledge that''s coming in that says this is a good thing to do.
Exactly, thank you.
Thank you. Once again, ladies and gentlemen, if you have any questions, press the star then 1 key on your touch-tone telephone.
You say you have another question or no?
No, I''m not showing any further questions at the moment.
Liz, one of the questions that came to me as you were discussing employees, particularly, was the fact in, when you were talking about the whole area at the beginning there, about having to train employees. You talked about how you allow light duty and you have a policy for that, the modified schedule. Is part of that based on the economics of the cost of hiring and then training a new employee as well?
Well, I, absolutely, absolutely. I believe our HR department has figured that to put an individual through our training academy, and then through their on-the-job training with their field training officer, is approximately 5,700 dollars. That''s just the initial investment. Then obviously your investment in the employee as they go along becomes greater and greater, based upon their skill level and their knowledge that they bring to the facility. And corrections is a fairly unique business, and it''s a very demanding business. And if you find someone who''s good at it, it''s, they''re just an invaluable resource. And so you''re absolutely right. I mean, the economics of it is, if you can help this person through this period of time, and often it''s a very short period of time. Now, we allow light duty for up to six months. If there''s additional medical information that would support extending it, we will extend it as well, but oftentimes the employee just needs a couple of months. We''re seeing a real rise in mental health issues, whether it''s just stressors in society as a whole, or whether it''s the returning veteran, or whether it''s a specific incident that''s going on in that person''s life, or whether it''s a diagnosed condition that they''ve dealt with a lot of their lives. Sometimes they just need a little break. And it may mean a, you know, one- to two- to three-month change, but not only does it keep the employee working, it keeps them in the routine of work, because statistics will show, if you''re off the job, it''s very difficult to get back in if you''ve been off the job more than six weeks. It''s hard to get back into that routine. It also provides the employee the benefit of learning a whole system. They may go to another position in another facility and decide, you know what? This is, they gain another knowledge skill set, and it may be a better fit for them, and the employee that''s in the best fit position is the most productive employee. So, it''s a great tool, Jim. It''s, I''m just a big advocate of it.
One other thing, Liz, if we have no other questions.
Actually we do show a few more questions. Whenever you''re ready to take them.
Ok, go ahead. Please, go ahead.
Ok. We''ll take our next question from Curtis Motiyama. Curtis Motiyama (site): Hello. I just wanted to know, what kind of reasonable accommodations have you provided for weapons qualification training?
We''ve provided additional padding on the shoulder, we''ve provided the ability to shoot, well, either arm, it doesn''t make any difference whether it''s their dominant arm. We''ve had individuals come in with an injury to their dominant arm and they''ve used their non-dominant arm. We''ve provided eye-patches in an individual who needed an eye patch. We''ve provided a weapon that wasn''t as heavy, but still was the same caliber, but it wasn''t as heavy. Those come to my mind right off the top. Curtis Motiyama (site): Ok. Thank you.
Thank you. And our next question is coming from John Havail.
Good afternoon. Our question is: how did you come to the determination that 13 inches is the appropriate television size for individuals or inmates who are deaf?
Well I hope I didn''t misunderstand me. That is the minimum, and that came from our State Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, that it could be no smaller than 13 inches.
And the reason for that is the size of the closed captioning?
The closed captioning, as you know how it scrolls down, if it''s any smaller than that, they have difficulty even seeing what''s on the screen because the captioning takes up the majority of the screen. Now that''s, that again, that''s our, Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing provided that standard for us.
So there''s no federal standard that you know of?
Well, I''m going to have to say I don''t know that. Jim, do you?
Not aware of any myself either, Liz, in all of our different trainings including the one with ACA, I don''t recall.
Ok. I think, though, if you can go to your Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and as a, you know, a facility that that''s their level of expertise, they''re going to guide you. And I''d say that''s a pretty good standard. Even if you just look at the television, and I went in and looked at it, and it was very difficult to see the screen on any smaller, so we did allow them to get, because 13 inch was our standard at that time, so we allowed individuals that have closed captioning to get a larger television.
As a wrap up, does the questioner have any response?
I''m sorry, what was your question?
Did you have a response that you wanted to make to Liz?
We''re picking up your background noise.
No, we don''t. Thank you very much.
Ok. I think folks that we''ve reached the 90-minute point, and so this will conclude today''s audio conference program. We realize that many of you may still have questions for our presenter and apologize if you didn''t get a chance to ask those. But if you would be willing to, you could contact your local ADA center at 800-949-4232. We''d like to thank at this time Elizabeth Stanosheck Jeanette from Nebraska for sharing her expertise and experience with us. I think that everybody learned from today''s program. A reminder to all that a digital recording of today''s session, as well as a written transcript will be available for viewing and downloading on the www.ada-audio.org website within the next ten business days. Please join us for next month''s session. Please check the website for that session. We encourage you to review the session, and please participate in future ones, familiarize yourself with the full array of the 2008, 2009, 2010 series. You can reach those, as we indicated, by archiving, as well as future conferences. If you have any questions regarding the ADA audio conference series, they can be directed to 877-232-1990, that''s voice or TTY, or by e-mail to email@example.com. Greatlakes is all one word, adagreatlakes- that is all one word. Thank you all for joining us today, please have a good day, and you will receive an e-mail link at the conclusion of this session for an online session survey. Please take the time to complete that. We value your input; we really do listen to what you all say and it helps us improve our programming as well as providing what you, the listeners, need. The presenter and moderators can now, would just like to say thank you to everybody for attending. We''d like to thank the Great Lakes ADA center for hosting this event and to all, be well. Good bye.
Ladies and gentlemen, this does conclude your conference. You may now disconnect and have a great day.