Self-reports of 72 profoundly deaf, signing inmates incarcerated in the state of Texas post-ADA revealed that only 27.8% had been provided a sign language interpreter at arrest. Furthermore, almost 20% reported that they received no interpreting services in the courtroom, despite being charged with felony offenses. The average educational achievement of these 72 individuals was second grade. Specific barriers to due process that deaf suspects and defendants face when interacting with the criminal justice system are stereotypes that all deaf people can speech read (read lips) and read written English proficiently enough to preclude the use of sign language interpreters. The legal significance of linguistic in competence in this population is addressed in this paper, as well as the ramifications that can occur when criminal justice professionals fail to recognize this condition.
Miller, K. R., & Vernon, M. (2019). Accessibility of Interpreting Services for Deaf Prisons Inmates at Arrest and In Court: A Matter of Basic Constitutional Rights. JADARA, 36(1). Retrieved from https://repository.wcsu.edu/jadara/vol36/iss1/4