Ableism of Those Who Are Deaf: Discriminationa and Exclusion of Disabilities

Ableism of Those Who Are Deaf: Discriminationa and Exclusion of Disabilities

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Ableism is defined as, “the all-encompassing discrimination and exclusion of people living with disabilities” (Adams et al, 461). However, in order to determine if ableism is occurring, then one must first know what constitutes a disability. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, someone has a disability if they have a considerable handicap that hinders the actions that are important for life, such as “walking, seeing, hearing, learning, speaking, breathing, standing, lifting, or caring for one’s self” (Adams et al, 461). Disabled people make up the largest minority in the world with their estimated population at 650 million people (Adams et al, 461). Of this 650 million people, 360 million people have some sort of disabling hearing loss, which is over five percent of the world population ("Deafness and Hearing Loss"). Defined specifically, a person with enough hearing loss to be considered disabled has, “hearing loss greater than 40dB in the better hearing ear in adults and a hearing loss greater than 30dB in the better hearing ear in children” ("Deafness and Hearing Loss"). Anyone who does not meet these standards may therefore be automatically considered to be hearing or non deaf. In the United States, the total prison population is estimated at 2.4 million (Klein and Soltas). Of this prison population, it is impossible to know how many people are deaf or hearing impaired as prisons do not tend to keep records of this information. However, experts state that the experience of being hearing impaired in prison is not a unique situation (Ridgeway). In a study, Katrina Miller did research on Texas prison populations and found that 30% of prisoners in Texas qualified as hearing impaired (Ridgeway). Assuming this is...


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...about deaf legal rights, in general, and hopes to eventually have her law degree so that she may eventually work on behalf of these populations by bringing cases to court about issues such as this.
Conclusion
Hearing impaired prisoners, in a way, constitute a vulnerable group inside of another vulnerable group. They are not only prisoners but are also disabled, making them in effect the subordinated of the subordinated. However as of yet, only little notice or work has been done to try to fix the circumstances of this group. Helping this group gain access to legal treatment and in a way cross their language barrier will be helpful to them inside prison. Also, it would even allow for them to gain more education and counseling inside prison, resulting in a more early releases. It would also help better prepare the prisoners for a return to life outside of prison.



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