DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE COMPLAINT NUMBER 204-28-17
This matter was initiated by a complaint filed under title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134, with the United States Department of Justice ("Department") against the Harrison County Sheriff's Department ("Sheriff's Department"). The complaint was received by the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, under the authority of 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F. The complainant alleges that the programs, services and activities provided by the Sheriff's Department at the Harrison County Jail are not accessible to persons with disabilities because of physical barriers in the facility, in violation of Subpart D of the title II regulation. In addition, the complainant alleges that he was not allowed to have medical equipment during his incarceration although such equipment had been prescribed by a physician.
The Department is authorized under 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F, to investigate fully the allegations of the complainant in this matter to determine the compliance of the Sheriff's Department with title II of the ADA and the Department's implementing title II regulation, to issue findings, and, where appropriate, to negotiate and secure voluntary compliance agreements. Furthermore, the Attorney General is authorized, under 42 U.S.C. § 12133, to bring a civil action enforcing title II of the ADA should the Department fail to secure voluntary compliance pursuant to Subpart F. In consideration of the terms of this Agreement as set forth below, the Attorney General agrees to refrain from undertaking further investigation or from filing civil suit in this matter.
The parties to this Agreement are the United States of America and the Sheriff's Department. In order to avoid the burdens and expenses of an investigation and possible litigation, the parties hereby agree as follows:
1. The ADA applies to the Sheriff's Department because it is a public entity as defined in the Department of Justice's regulation implementing title II. 28 C.F.R. § 35.104.
2. Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability, in the services, programs, or activities of a public entity such as the Sheriff's Department.
3. Under the ADA, the services, programs, or activities provided by the Sheriff's Department, when viewed in their entirety, must be readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.
4. The subject of this Agreement is the development of a plan that will ensure that inmates with mobility impairments are not excluded from participation in the services provided by the Sheriff's Department because of physical barriers that exist at the current Harrison County Jail, until an accessible jail facility constructed for the Sheriff's Department becomes operational.
5. The Sheriff's Department has entered into an agreement with the Sheriff's Department of Cass County, Iowa, whereby inmates with disabilities will be relocated to the Cass County Jail, which is a facility that is accessible to persons with mobility impairments.
6. The Sheriff's Department has adopted the attached policy that sets forth that:
a. Inmates with disabilities in the custody of the Sheriff's Department will be taken to the Cass County Jail;
b. Transportation will be provided when necessary to ensure that visitation privileges for inmates that have been relocated are equivalent to those provided for others;
c. A responsible employee will be designated to inform inmates that are relocated to ensure program accessibility of the reason for relocation and to ensure the availability of accessible transportation for visitation privileges; and
d. Inmates in the official custody of the Sheriff's Department will be allowed to have medication or equipment that is prescribed by a physician that does not pose a serious threat to the safety of others.
This policy will remain in effect until an accessible jail facility constructed for the Sheriff's Department becomes operational.
7. The Sheriff's Department has submitted a report on its implementation of the matters set forth in paragraph 6.
8. If at any time the Sheriff's Department desires to modify any portion of this Agreement because of changed conditions making performance impossible or impractical or for any other reason, it shall promptly notify the Department in writing, setting forth the facts and circumstances thought to justify modification and the substance of the proposed modification. Until there is written Agreement by the Department to the proposed modification, the proposed modification shall not take effect.
9. The Department may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. If it determines that this Agreement or any requirement thereof has been violated, it may institute a civil action seeking specific performance of the provisions of this Agreement in an appropriate Federal court.
11. Failure by the Department to enforce this entire Agreement or any provision thereof with regard to any deadline or any other provision herein shall not be construed as a waiver of the Department's right to enforce other deadlines and provisions of this Agreement.
12. In the event that the Sheriff's Department fails to comply in a timely manner with any requirement of this Agreement without obtaining sufficient advance written agreement with the Department as a temporary modification of the relevant terms of this Agreement, all terms of this Agreement shall become enforceable in an appropriate Federal court.
13. This Agreement is a public document. A copy of this document or any information contained in it may be made available to any person by the Sheriff's Department or the Department on request.
14. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
15. This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties on the matters raised herein, and no other statement, promise, or agreement, either written or oral, made by either party or agents of either party, that is not contained in this written Agreement, shall be enforceable. This Agreement does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other Federal law. This Agreement does not affect continuing responsibility of the Sheriff's Department to comply with all aspects of the ADA.
For the Harrison County Sheriff's Department:
For the United States:
BILL LANN LEE,
Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights
JOHN WODATCH, Chief
L. IRENE BOWEN, Deputy Chief
Disability Rights Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 66738
Washington, DC 20035-6738
Date ____________________ Date ________________________
POLICY FOR HOUSING INMATES WITH MOBILITY IMPAIRMENTS
1. Persons with mobility impairments who are taken into custody by the Harrison County Sheriff's Department will be held, as prescribed by law, in the Jail of Cass County, Iowa, to ensure that they are held in a facility that is readily accessible to and usable by those persons.
2. In order to ensure that, as a result of the relocation, an inmate with a mobility disability is not denied visitation privileges that are provided to others, the Harrison County Sheriff's Department will provide the inmate's visitor(s) with the option of either:
a) Visiting the inmate at the Cass County Jail during the regularly scheduled visitation hours of the Cass County Jail, where transportation arrangements are the responsibility of the visitor(s), or
b) Visiting the inmate at a site to be determined by the Harrison County Sheriff's Department, either the Cass County Jail, or an accessible site in Harrison County, and transportation between the Harrison County Jail and the Cass County Jail will be provided by the Harrison County Sheriff's Department.
1) If the site of visitation is to be at an accessible location in Harrison County, the Sheriff's Department will transport the inmate to and from the Cass County Jail.
2) If the site of visitation is to be at the Cass County Jail, the Harrison County Sheriff's Department will provide transportation to the visitor(s) between the Harrison County Jail and the Cass County Jail. This transportation will be accessible to persons with mobility impairments as needed.
The terms of visitation shall be those of the Cass County Jail. The Harrison County Sheriff's Department has the option of changing the site of visitation within 24 hours of the scheduled inmate visitation hours of the Cass County Jail.
3. Once it is determined that a person with a mobility impairment must be transferred to an accessible holding facility, the [RESPONSIBLE EMPLOYEE] will:
1) Ensure that the inmate is informed of both
e) the purpose of relocation, and
f) the availability of accessible transportation to and from the Cass County Jail for visitors, and
2) Receive requests and make arrangements for the provision of accessible transportation to the new location.
4. Any person in the official custody of the Harrison County Sheriff's Department shall be allowed to have medication or equipment that is prescribed by a physician, to be administered in accordance with that prescription, unless it is determined, individually and objectively, that the equipment will pose a demonstrable, serious threat to the safety of others. If a serious threat to the safety of others is demonstrated, the Harrison County Sheriff's Department will make every effort to provide other accommodations for the inmate's disability. >