PSA: ASL Access to Parole & Probation Info Saves Lives!

PSA: ASL Access to Parole & Probation Info Saves Lives!


Recently, Louisiana became the very first state to make their official Parole & Probation website accessible. Parole is when a person goes to jail and is released, but how do they know what to do after they get out? Now, it is clearly explained through an ASL-accessible website that Deaf people can use to browse rules and requirements, explained in ASL. Was it successful? I’ll let the Returned Citizens explain their experience. My name is Troy Atkins. My sign name is “TA” My name is Cedric Hammond. I’ve been in prison for a total of 18 years. I’m Shamika Dorsey. My children’s father.. led me to be incarcerated. He’s been in and out prison since ’94. In that moment, I was utterly confused. I felt helpless. You have to understand that I had to learn the hard way. When I was released from prison, I had no place to live. I had to walk through the darkness,… to find the light in my life. I did not like being in prison. It was a hard time. When a cop calls me over for a doctor’s appointment, they communicate by using a paper and pen… During the week before you’re released, you must complete a program consisting of classes. But, no interpreters are provided. When I discussed with my parole officer, I told them I needed an interpreter and a lawyer. He said that they would provide them, but they never showed up. After I took all my classes, I was released. I went home, but soon after, I was sent back to prison again. I had to fight for my right to get an interpreter. It was tough. But, I had to keep going. Prisons across America don’t provide interpreters. Most of the time, they use other inmates as interpreter. That’s simply unacceptable. Back in prison, I didn’t understand a lot of things. Now that there’s an ASL video available, I can now understand everything much better. Now, I know everything I need to do. The video is much more accessible, for Deaf people to understand, and to be aware of what to do, instead of being sent back to prison over and over. Watching this video once is all I needed. The new ASL videos are very informative, there were some things that we didn’t even know! Our parole officers didn’t tell us some things… The video is clear. The parole officer wasn’t. I feel like a fool. We didn’t know some important things. Come on. That’s not right. We have the right to access information that is clear, in-depth, and wholesome, and not tiny bits of information here and there. When I first saw the video, I thought it was very good. I was able to understand everything. It was much better than the information I got in prison There should be equal access. I want the rest of the country to release similar videos. Other states should do the same thing that Louisiana did.

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