Camalot Todd, Nevada Current
January 12, 2024
The ACLU of Nevada filed a federal lawsuit against the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) on Jan. 11, claiming the Clark County Detention Center (CCDC) failed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the U.S. Constitution, and the Nevada Constitution in violation of the rights of deaf inmates.
The ACLU of Nevada has been investigating the treatment of deaf people at CCDC since April 2021, and says the jail regularly denies basic aids and services like sign language interpreters, visual aids, videophones, rehabilitation classes, medical appointments, and fire alarms.
Jones v. LVMPD, filed with the National Association of the Deaf, details how Christopher Jones spent more than two years at CCDC but had his requests for services denied. Jones was unable to participate in opportunities to rehabilitate, including group therapy and religious services, according to the ACLU.
LVMPD said via email that the department does not comment on pending litigation.
The ACLU of Nevada hopes the lawsuit will force the CCDC to provide better staff training, as well as videophones, American Sign Language interpreters, and any other aids or services a deaf person might require.
“Deaf and hard of hearing people are experiencing worse jail conditions than everyone else at the detention center only because they are deaf or hard of hearing. Based on the records we have received through public records requests, we know that the detention center is aware it must offer these services, but it still fails to do so,” ACLU of Nevada Legal Director Chris Peterson said in a statement announcing the suit.
The ACLU of Nevada asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the CCDC’s treatment of deaf people who are incarcerated there in 2022, noting many of the same issues of accessibility in the lawsuit.
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