Disabilities lawsuit alleges prisons settlement breached


The Florida Department of Corrections is facing allegations that it breached a legal settlement requiring it to make changes at prisons to meet the needs of inmates with disabilities.

The advocacy group Disability Rights Florida filed a lawsuit this month in Leon County circuit court alleging that the department has not complied with a settlement in a federal case about whether the agency violated laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Disability Rights Florida filed the federal lawsuit in 2016, and a settlement was reached in 2017 and modified in 2018. 

The settlement was enforceable in state court, which is why this month’s lawsuit was filed in Leon County circuit court. 

Disability Rights Florida alleges that the department has breached the settlement by, for example, not installing “light boards” that can help alert prisoners who are deaf or hard of hearing; not properly providing wheelchairs to inmates who need them; and not providing access to “talking books” for inmates who are blind or have limited vision. The lawsuit seeks an order requiring the department to comply with the settlement.


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