March 2016 Update: Deaf Prisoner Phone Justice Campaign

March 2016 Update: Deaf Prisoner Phone Justice Campaign

I am Wally Pacut. I am intern with HEARD, Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf. We have some exciting news to share with everyone. If you have been keeping up with our organization’s advocacy, you know that for five years, HEARD has been actively engaged in advocacy at the national level, for example, with the Federal Communications Commission and the United States Department of Justice. We also have been advocating tirelessly at the state level as well in numerous states. What have we been advocating for?​
Equal access to telecommunication. Telecommunication includes videophones, TTYs and captioned telephones, and more. Deaf prisoners and CODA (Children of Deaf Adult) prisoners need equal access telecommunication. Our hard work is making a huge impact. So now it is time for the announcement . . . The California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation has finally agreed to move forward with installation of videophones in California’s prisons. We–HEARD, deaf & CODA prisoners and their families–have worked together to achieve phone justice. It was our collective activism that is the force behind this phone justice success in California. We are beyond pleased to see our efforts pay off. During this effort, we also have provided support to attorneys who support phone justice for our community. This truly has been a hard-fought, long-term collaborative effort. Now, the deaf community, HEARD, deaf and CODA prisoners, and their loved ones hope to see other states follow suit and ensure that phone justice is achieved for every person in every state. If you see that your home state or city jails and prisons do not have videophones installed, immediately start advocating to ensure that jails and prisons install videophones! You can advocate for phone justice too! Ensuring equal access to videophones, TTYs and captioned telephones is hugely important. Not only does access to telecommunications impact he safety and health of our community members, it is also paramount to promoting the success of our entire society. We–deaf and CODA prisoners, their loved ones, and this organization–will continue our advocacy. Our tireless advocacy for phone justice for deaf and CODA prisoners nationwide will continue until ALL prison systems provide what is necessary to meet our needs and the needs of our incarcerated community. If you want more information about our ongoing efforts or you want to learn about future phone justice updates, visit Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and search for the following hashtags: #DeafInPrison and #PhoneJustice If you search either of these hashtags, you will find a lot more information. I want to thank all deaf community members who have actually gotten involved in this effort. We can do it! We will achieve our goal. Thank you for watching this vlog. There will be more vlogs coming soon.

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