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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Justice Department Reaches Agreement With Hawaii Department of Public Safety to Ensure Equal Access to Its Programs for Inmates With Disabilities

The Justice Department today reached a settlement agreement with the Hawaii Department of Public Safety (HDPS) to ensure that inmates with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in HDPS’ programs, services, and activities.

The settlement agreement resolves complaints, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), in which inmates with mobility disabilities alleged that HDPS excluded them from participating in its furlough program because of their disabilities and HDPS prison facilities were inaccessible to inmates with disabilities, thereby denying them equal access to HDPS’ programs, services, and activities. HDPS cooperated with the Department of Justice throughout the investigation.

“Compliance with the ADA ensures that inmates with disabilities have equal access to basic necessities, such as showers or sleeping areas, and to programs that are offered to qualified inmates,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “We commend HDPS for recognizing its obligations and working collaboratively with the Department of Justice.”

Among the terms of the agreement, qualified inmates with mobility disabilities will not be excluded from participating in HDPS’ furlough program. The agreement also requires HDPS to modify its policies, practices, and procedures; make architectural modifications to five correctional facilities (Hale Nani Correctional Facility, the Women’s Community Correctional Center, Halawa Correctional Facility, Waiawa Correctional Facility, and Oahu Community Correctional Center) to make them accessible to inmates with disabilities; train relevant staff; designate statewide and facility-specific ADA Coordinators; implement an ADA complaint procedure; and provide $45,000 in monetary damages to the complainants.

This agreement was reached under Title II of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities by state and local governments.

Those interested in finding out more about this settlement or the ADA may call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), or access its ADA website at www.ada.gov. ADA complaints may be filed online at http://www.ada.gov/complaint/.

Updated March 20, 2019