Mid-Atlantic ADA Center: more disability accommodations needed in criminal justice system
DELMARVA – Tuesday, the Mid-Atlantic Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Center connected with those in the criminal justice system. The message: emphasizing the importance of understanding the best practices when it comes to individuals with disabilities.
Emerging Issues in Criminal Justice System.
Director the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center, Ann Deschamps, says Tuesday’s sessions addressed accommodations for those with disabilities, who are navigating the criminal justice system. That includes making sure correctional centers and courts are ADA compliant, says Deschamps.
Another topic: bolstering collaboration between law enforcement officers and behavioral health workers. Deschamps says programs doing just that in Virginia were showcased at the forum.
Deschamps says this effort is especially important when considering that not every disability is visible. Nearly one in five Americans live with a disability, and Deschamps says many are dealing with more than one at once.
Addiction Recovery While Incarcerated
Deschamps says the Center is also urging those in the criminal justice system to adhere with best practices in addiction recovery. Some in recovery do so by taking part in medication-assisted treatment, and it is scientifically proven to help.
However, Deschamps says not everyone recovering from addiction behind bars has access to that kind of treatment.
Don’t Hesitate to Ask
Tuesday’s forum was only a snapshot of the work that the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center does to improve the lives of those living with disabilities. They also provide training and technical assistance on the ADA, as well as information and guidance.
Deschamps says most of the forum participants were members of law enforcement or corrections, themselves. Adding, in some cases, those folks are the only ones in their department working with ADA compliance. That’s why Deschamps urges those who need guidance to reach out to the Center, and other partner organizations. You can reach the Center by clicking here, or calling 800-949-4232.
“Each of these programs are willing to talk to anybody around the country to tell them how they’re implementing it. We can learn from each other,” said Deschamps.