Case: DOJ ADA Investigation of Virginia Regional Jail Authority

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Case Summary

The United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) initiated an investigation into the Central Virginia Regional Jail (“CVRJ”), run by the Virginia Regional Jail Authority (“VRJA”) following a complaint alleging violations of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The complainant, a deaf individual who uses American Sign Language (“ASL”) to communicate, alleged that VRJA failed to provide a qualified interpreter or any additional aids or services so that she could effectively com…

The United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) initiated an investigation into the Central Virginia Regional Jail (“CVRJ”), run by the Virginia Regional Jail Authority (“VRJA”) following a complaint alleging violations of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The complainant, a deaf individual who uses American Sign Language (“ASL”) to communicate, alleged that VRJA failed to provide a qualified interpreter or any additional aids or services so that she could effectively communicate during her 30-day incarceration in 2015. According to the complainant, VRJA also failed to afford her an equal opportunity to use telecommunications services. 

In addition to finding that VRJA had failed to comply with ADA requirements during the complainant’s incarceration, the investigation concluded that VRJA was generally non-compliant with several ADA requirements at CVRJ and other facilities. The VRJA failed to show that it conducted regular self-evaluations or made information about accessible services obtainable by individuals with impaired vision or hearing. The VRJA also lacked an ADA Coordinator responsible for implementing regulations. After cooperating with the DOJ throughout the investigation, VRJA entered into a settlement agreement following the investigation’s conclusion.

Signed on March 12, 2019, the terms of the settlement agreement included designating an ADA Coordinator and ADA Deputy Coordinator who would be responsible for coordinating the VRJA’s efforts to comply with ADA requirements. The VRJA agreed to modify its intake procedure so that when a person with a disability comes into custody, intake staff document the disability and notify the necessary personnel to ensure necessary accommodations are provided. Other provisions intended to facilitate effective communication included making qualified interpreters available, providing hearing aids and other auxiliary aids (oral transliterators, text telephones (TTYs), computer-assisted real time transcription, telephone handset amplifiers, closed caption decoders, etc.), and developing personnel handbooks on procedures to ensure that individuals with hearing impairments are able to communicate. The VRJA also provided monetary relief in the form of a $50,000 payment to the complainant to be placed into an annuity or special needs trust. The agreement was effective for twenty-three months from its signing date, concluding in February 2022. 

 

Summary Authors

Hannah Juge (6/17/2022)

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Docket

Last updated Aug. 30, 2023, 3:01 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Virginia

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Disability Rights

Special Collection(s):

Deaf or Blind in Jail/Prison

Key Dates

Closing Date: 2022

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division

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: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Facility Type(s):

Government-run

Case Details

Causes of Action:

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

Special Case Type(s):

Out-of-court

Available Documents:

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Private Settlement Agreement

Content of Injunction:

Hire

Reasonable Accommodation

Recordkeeping

Training

Amount Defendant Pays: 50,000.00

Order Duration: 2019 - 2022

Issues

General/Misc.:

Individualized planning

Language access/needs

Record-keeping

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

TTY/Close Captioning/Videophone/etc.

Disability and Disability Rights:

Hearing impairment

Screen readers and similar accessibility devices

Discrimination Basis:

Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)

Environmental Justice and Resources:

Effective Communication (ADA)