“Wasted Time: Lack of Access to Programming for Inmates with Disabilities in Washington’s County Jails” reports on the AVID Jail Project’s findings of very little programming or services for inmates. Although we incarcerate people with disabilities at disproportionately high rates, the vast majority of our jails do not make existing programs and services accessible for people with disabilities, and do not offer any programs targeted to these inmates.
This report has been updated and is current as of March 1, 2017.
“Access Denied: Conditions for People with Physical and Sensory Disabilities in Washington’s County Jails” is one report in a series of reports intended to support an informed dialogue about how Washingtonians with disabilities are treated in county jails. This report explains the types of physical barriers and accessibility issues experience by inmates with disabilities in Washington’s county jails, and makes recommendations for change. It is produced by Disability Rights Washington’s AVID Jail Project.
Solitary confinement in Washington’s county jails disproportionately affects people with disabilities. Many jails go so far as to place inmates with disabilities in solitary confinement because of their disability. “Cruel but Not Unusual: Solitary Confinement in Washington’s County Jails” describes the harmful effects of solitary confinement on people with disabilities, provides overview of the disproportionate and discriminatory placement of people with disabilities in solitary confinement in Washington’s county jails, and identifies best practices and recommendations for reform.
“Prescription for Change: Access to Medication for People with Disabilities in Jail” finds that our county jails often delay, disrupt or deny necessary prescription medication to people in their care. Prescription medication is a common and vital part of medical and mental health care for many people, including people with disabilities. By continuing to make it difficult or impossible for people to access necessary medication, Washington State’s jails risk violating the law and, more importantly, causing serious harm and even death.
“You Can’t Just “Tell”: Why Washington Jails Must Screen for Mental Illness and Cognitive Disabilities” pinpoints the need for screening and early identification of inmates with disabilities to allow jails to provide legally-required services and reasonable accommodations and to maintain safety for all inmates and jail staff.
“Locked Up and Locked Down: Segregation of Inmates with Mental Illness” describes how between 80,000 and 100,000 inmates are currently segregated in prison cells nationwide for 22-24 hours per day, for days, months, years, and in some cases decades at a time. Segregation disproportionately affects inmates with mental illness and research shows that individuals may acquire symptoms of mental illness, or experience exacerbated symptoms of mental illness, as a result of the conditions in segregation.
“The AVID Jail Project and SCORE: Improving Conditions for Inmates with Mental Illness Through Collaboration” explains the ongoing successful collaboration between Disability Rights Washington’s AVID Jail Project and South Correctional Entity (SCORE), a jail in South King County, Washington. The cooperative relationship between Disability Rights Washington and SCORE has produced significant positive changes for inmates with disabilities and demonstrates a path forward for all of Washington’s jails.
“The Need for Accessible Voting in Jail” report calls on county jails and election offices to help jail inmates participate in the upcoming election. The report follows an investigation Disability Rights Washington’s AVID Jail Project conducted into the policies and conditions in every county jail across the state that found the vast majority of jails do nothing to support inmate voting. Read more about accessible voting in Washington’s jails.
As many as 31 percent of U.S. inmates in state prisons report having at least one disability. “Making Hard Time Harder: Programmatic Accommodations for Inmates with Disabilities Under the Americans with Disabilities Act” describes how inmates with disabilities often spend more time in prison, under harsher conditions, than inmates without disabilities.
The high prevalence of disability in jail generates a requirement to meet the needs of numerous people with varying disabilities and medical conditions. Disability Rights Washington set out to investigate how well jails were doing in meeting the needs of people with disabilities. This report, “County jails, statewide problems: A look at how our friends, family and neighbors with disabilities are treated in Washington’s jails,” examines how friends, family, and neighbors with disabilities are treated in Washington’s jails.
People with mental illness, developmental disabilities, and traumatic brain injuries are being held in county jails from several weeks to months awaiting evaluation or restoration of their competency to stand trial. In this report, Disability Rights Washington documents the human cost of the time these individuals spend in jail, with inadequate or no mental health treatment, usually in isolation.