Settlement Agreement Between The United States Of America And Johnson County, Tennessee Sheriff's Department

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE COMPLAINT NUMBER 204-70-38
This matter was initiated by a complaint filed under title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. ァァ 12131-12134, with the United States Department of Justice ("Department of Justice") against the Johnson County, Tennessee 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 Johnson County Jail are not accessible to persons with disabilities, in violation of the title II regulation. In addition, the complainant alleges that the jail does not have accessible toilets or bathing facilities and that he was not given his medications or proper nutrition during his incarceration although such 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. ァ 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. ァ 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 denied proper access to the facilities provided by the Sheriff's Department because of inaccessible toilets and bathing facilities that exist at the Johnson County Jail. Further, the Sheriff's Department will develop a policy to affirm that inmates with disabilities are not denied proper medication and nutrition as prescribed by a physician.
  5. The Sheriff's Department has entered into an agreement with the Sheriff's Department of Washington County, Tennessee, whereby inmates with disabilities will be relocated to the Washington County Jail, which is a facility that is accessible to persons with mobility impairments.
  6. Within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this agreement, the Sheriff's Department will adopt the attached policy that sets forth that:
    1. Inmates with disabilities in the custody of the Sheriff's Department will be taken to the Washington County Jail;
    2. Transportation will be provided when necessary to ensure that visitation privileges for inmates who have been relocated are equivalent to those provided for others;
    3. A responsible employee will be designated to inform inmates, who are relocated to ensure program accessibility, of the reason for relocation and to ensure the availability of accessible transportation for visitation privileges; and
    4. Inmates in the official custody of the Sheriff's Department will be allowed to have medication that is prescribed by a physician and will be allowed to have equipment that is prescribed by a physician, unless it is shown that such equipment will pose a serious threat to the safety of others.
  1. The Sheriff's Department will submit a report on its implementation of the matters set forth in paragraph 6 within forty-five (45) days of the effective date of this Agreement.
  2. 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.
  3. 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, or take enforcement action pursuant to Title II of the ADA.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
  8. 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 the continuing responsibility of the Sheriff's Department to comply with all aspects of the ADA.
  9. This Agreement will remain in effect for two (2) years following the effective date of this Agreement.

For Johnson County, Tennessee:
Sheriff's Department:

______________________________      Date: _______________
ROGER GENTRY
Johnson County Sheriff
121 Court Street
Mountain City, Tennessee 37683

For the United States:
BILL LANN LEE
Acting Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights

______________________________      Date: _______________
JOHN L. WODATCH, Chief
IRENE BOWEN, Deputy Chief
U.S. Department of Justice
Disability Rights Section
P.O. Box 66738
Washington, D.C. 20035-6738



POLICY FOR HOUSING INMATES WITH MOBILITY IMPAIRMENTS
  1. Persons with mobility impairments who are taken into custody by the Johnson County Sheriff's Department will be held, as prescribed by law, in the Jail of Washington County, Tennessee, 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 Johnson County Sheriff's Department will provide the inmate's visitor(s) with the option of either:
    1. Visiting the inmate at the Washington County Jail during the regularly scheduled visitation hours of the Washington County Jail, where transportation arrangements are the responsibility of the visitor(s), or
    2. Visiting the inmate at a site to be determined by the Johnson County Sheriff's Department, either the Washington County Jail, or an accessible site in Johnson County, and transportation between the Johnson County Jail and the Washington County Jail will be provided by the Johnson County Sheriff's Department.
      1. If the site of visitation is to be at an accessible location in Johnson County, the Sheriff's Department will transport the inmate to and from the Washington County Jail.
      2. If the site of visitation is to be at the Washington County Jail, the Johnson County Sheriff's Department will provide transportation to the visitor(s) between the Johnson County Jail and the Washington County Jail. This transportation will be accessible to persons with mobility impairments as needed.
      The terms of visitation shall be those of the Washington County Jail. The Johnson County Sheriff's Department has the option of changing the site of visitation within 24 hours of the scheduled inmate visitation hours of the Washington County Jail.
  3. Once it is determined that a person with a mobility impairment must be transferred to an accessible holding facility, the Deputy Frank Baker, Johnson County Sheriff Transport Officer
    1. Ensure that the inmate is informed of
    2. both the purpose of relocation, and
    3. the availability of accessible transportation to and from the Washington County Jail for visitors, and
    4. Receive requests and make arrangements for the provision of accessible transportation to the new location.
  4. Any person in the official custody of the Johnson 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 Johnson County Sheriff's Department will make every effort to provide other accommodations for the inmate's disability. >
Updated August 6, 2015

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