Require all U​.​S jails and prisons to abide by the following six policies.

Require all U​.​S jails and prisons to abide by the following six policies.

June 7, 2021
Signatures: 42Next Goal: 50
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Why this petition matters

Started by Jotroop Kaur

A solution to potentially lessen the suffering and death inflicted on disabled incarcerated individuals is to create a strict set of rules including the following policies.

- All incarcerated individuals should have access to medication and/or medical equipment as per a registered doctor’s prescription. 
- Jail and prison staff should be taught how to properly handle disabled people and be informed on any disabilities of individuals in the jail or prison. 
- Individuals who are incarcerated for minor crimes/misdemeanor should have the right to have their service animal in jail with them.  
- Incarcerated individuals with extreme intellectual disabilities or trauma should be sent to a rehabilitation facility instead. 
- Routine evaluations should be performed on correctional facilities to ensure the humane treatment of those with disabilities. 
- Medical staff should screen for individuals with disabilities during the intake process and ensure that any disabilities are accommodated for.

This proposal for reform consists heavily of ADA laws, which under the eighth amendment, should be complied with in correctional facilities but often aren’t. Compliance with ADA law as well as the eighth amendment would mean that all incarcerated individuals in the United States have the right to health care and routine checkups, and all disabled incarcerated individuals in the United States have the right to, if necessary, medication, medical equipment, service animals, and needed accommodations. Medical screening upon intake can ensure that such accommodations are provided to those with disabilities, and ensuring proper training for prison/jail staff will ensure compliance with the eighth amendment as it will prevent staff from inappropriate handling/treatment of disabled individuals, which can occur in several forms such as:

- Triggering a mental disability such as PTSD or Sensory Overload
- Rough handling of individuals with physical sensitivities 
- Failure to provide necessary accommodations

Such instances can cause disabled individuals immense unnecessary suffering and possibly death further proving the importance of compliance with ADA laws and the eighth amendment regarding incarcerated individuals with disabilities.

As a whole, these policies ensure that those with disabilities in correctional facilities are treated fairly and all possible measures are taken to prevent unnecessary suffering or death. They would prevent incidents such as what happened to Dean Westwood, whose needs were completely neglected. Dean has several disabilities and suffered enormously due to a lack of accordance with the aforementioned policies. First, he was manhandled during searches due to his inability to move a majority of his body and was put in a suit several sizes too small, causing severe irritation. He was then placed alone in an isolated cell for approximately seven days. Without the means he needed for assistance in moving around, Dean lay flat on his back in the isolation cell. Because he was not provided with the necessary anti-seizure medication, he endured consistent painful convulsions. The aforementioned possible solutions would have prevented all these awful inflictions of pain and suffering on Dean Westwood and several others with similar stories. Access to proper medications could have prevented the painful seizures. Proper training for jail and prison staff would prevent abusive rough handling. A trained service animal would be able to provide mobility support through momentum pull, fetch medication/water when needed, alert Dean when he was about to experience a seizure, provide DPT to reduce the length of seizure episodes and provide emotional support. If routine evaluations were performed, Dean’s inability to move as well as being put in extremely tight clothing would have been noticed and acted upon. Finally, medical checkups upon intake would have allowed staff to be aware of Dean’s disabilities and provide him with necessary accommodations. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

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Signatures: 42Next Goal: 50
Support now