Wednesday, March 13, 2013

State prisoners' right to vote enangered in Maine

Only Maine and Vermont currently permit state prison inmates to vote, and that may now change in Maine.  One legislator has proposed an amendment to Maine’s constitution that would prohibit voting by those state prison inmates who have been “convicted of a crime for which a sentence of imprisonment of more than 10 years may be imposed.”
The first public hearings took place on March 4 and a work session by the Committee for Veterans and Legal Affairs  is scheduled for March 15. Views about the resolution have been published in the Bangor Daily News, the Portland Press Herald, the ACLU of Maine news center, and on Maine's public radio station.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Is Denver Violating the Rights of Deaf Prisoners?

Susan Green of The Colorado Independent recently reported that the U.S. Justice department has opened an investigation into whether Denver jail officials have violated the Americans with Disabilities Act through its failure to provide sign-language interpreters for deaf prisoners.  The investigation was prompted by a lawsuit filed by a profoundly deaf man who claims that he was repeatedly denied an interpreter while in the Denver County Jail, even when undergoing intake, classification and medical interviews. A previous lawsuit, alleging the failure to provide interpreters for three deaf inmates, failure to provide adequate accommodations, and failure to properly train staff to deal with deaf prisoners, resulted in the city agreeing to settle the claim for $695,000.