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Monday, January 09, 2017

Justice Department Seeks to Intervene in Lawsuit Over Denial of Rights to Florida Inmates with Disabilities



The Justice Department announced today that it has moved to intervene in Disability Rights Florida Inc., v. Julie Jones, a private lawsuit alleging that the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) failed to protect the rights of inmates with disabilities in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

In the motion, filed in the Northern District of Florida, the department seeks to join a case brought by Disability Rights Florida Inc. (DRF), a private protection and advocacy group.  In the lawsuit, DRF alleges, among other things, that FDOC has excluded inmates with disabilities from its programs, services and activities.  DRF also alleges that FDOC failed to provide the means for effective communication for inmates with hearing loss.  In the motion, the United States highlighted its substantial legal interest in the outcome of DRF’s case because the department is the primary agency responsible for enforcing the ADA.

“The ADA and Section 504 afford all people with disabilities, including prisoners, the right to fair treatment and effective communication,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division.  “We believe our participation in this case will help to ensure a just outcome for all.”

For more information on the Civil Rights Division, please visit www.justice.gov/crt.  For more information on the Civil Rights Division’s Disability Rights Section, please call the department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (TDD 800-514-0383) or visit www.ada.gov.

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