Case: Chester County Prison ADA Investigation

DJ 204-62-70 | No Court

Filed Date: 1994

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In 1994, a deaf inmate incarcerated at the Chester County Prison filed a complaint with the Department of Justice under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). That inmate alleged that Chester County Prison had not provided him with an interpreter for group therapy sessions and disciplinary hearings. The inmate's mother, who was mobility-impaired, also alleged that the visiting area was not accessible to people unable to climb two flights of stairs. She claimed that the prison…

In 1994, a deaf inmate incarcerated at the Chester County Prison filed a complaint with the Department of Justice under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). That inmate alleged that Chester County Prison had not provided him with an interpreter for group therapy sessions and disciplinary hearings. The inmate's mother, who was mobility-impaired, also alleged that the visiting area was not accessible to people unable to climb two flights of stairs. She claimed that the prison did not allow visitors to use the elevator because it was in the inmates' part of the building. After receiving the complaint, the United States Department of Justice exercised its authority under the ADA, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134, and 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F, to investigate the inmate's allegations.

On September 12, 1996, the Disability Rights Section of the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and the Chester County Prison signed a non-court settlement agreement. The parties acknowledge that a prison is a "public entity" under the ADA's implementing rules. Under the terms of the settlement, the prison agreed to provide deaf inmates with interpreters or an equally effective alternative upon the inmate's request. An inmate who desired an interpreter was required to request one 24-hours in advance. The prison also agreed to allow visitors with physical disabilities to use the elevator, which would be prominently marked with signs. Although the United States agreed not to pursue the investigation or commence litigation in exchange for these concessions, the United States retained the right to file a lawsuit if the prison failed to abide by the settlement. We have no record of any subsequent lawsuit.

Summary Authors

Kristen Sagar (6/11/2007)

People


Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Magagna, Joan A. (District of Columbia)

Perley, Sharon N. (District of Columbia)

Wodatch, John L. (District of Columbia)

Wolfson, Robb (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

McFadden, D. Edward (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Magagna, Joan A. (District of Columbia)

Perley, Sharon N. (District of Columbia)

Wodatch, John L. (District of Columbia)

Wolfson, Robb (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

McFadden, D. Edward (Pennsylvania)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

2046270

Settlement Agreement Between U.S. and the Prison of Chester County, Pennsylvania

Sept. 12, 1996

Sept. 12, 1996

Settlement Agreement

Resources

Docket

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Pennsylvania

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Disability Rights

Special Collection(s):

Deaf or Blind in Jail/Prison

Key Dates

Filing Date: 1994

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

United States Department of Justice

Plaintiff Type(s):

U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: Unknown

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Chester County Prison (West Chester, Chester), County

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.

Special Case Type(s):

Out-of-court

Availably Documents:

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Mixed

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Private Settlement Agreement

Order Duration: 1996 - None

Issues

General:

Counseling

Disciplinary procedures

Visiting

Discrimination-basis:

Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)

Disability:

Hearing impairment

Type of Facility:

Government-run