Hot Topic: Nursing Homes for Sex Offenders & Violent Offenders


2-5-2015 National:


1. It is the intent of the United States Department of Justice (“the United States” or “the Department”) and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (“Sheriff’) (collectively, “Parties”) that this Settlement Agreement shall resolve all issues associated with the provision of effective communication with persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind so that they may participate in or benefit from the services, programs, or activities of the Sheriff on an equal basis with other individuals, including but not limited to arrestees, detainees, suspects, victims, witnesses, complainants, and visitors at Santa Rita Jail (“SRJ”) and Glenn E. Dyer Jail (“GDJ”) (collectively “detention facilities”). This Agreement establishes the Sheriff’s obligations to provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services whenever necessary to ensure effective communications with qualified individuals with a disability at SRJ and GDJ detention facilities, including inmates, visitors, and members of the public with disabilities.


2. This Settlement Agreement originated with a complaint lodged with the United States against the Sheriff. The complaint alleged that the Sheriff violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134, and the Department’s regulation implementing Title II, 28 C.F.R. Part 35, by denying effective communication with a qualified individual with a disability. In his complaint, Mr. Bonner, who is deaf and blind, alleged that the Sheriff failed to provide him with a tactile interpreter when necessary to ensure effective communication with him when he was arrested and during his two day incarceration at SRJ. Mr. Bonner was released from SRJ after the charges against him were dropped.

3. The U.S. Attorney General is authorized under 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F, to investigate Mr. Bonner’s complaint allegations and to determine whether the Sheriff complied with Title II of the ADA and the Title II regulation. The United States is also authorized 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 of Justice 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 a civil suit in this matter, except as provided in paragraph 23.

4. The ADA applies to the Sheriff because it is a “public entity” pursuant to Title II of the ADA. 42 U.S.C. § 12131. 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.” 42 U.S.C. § 12132.

5. The United States investigated the complaint and found the allegations to be substantiated. While the Sheriff alleges that the Office made a good faith effort to accommodate Mr. Bonner, a tactile interpreter was never provided to Mr. Bonner during his incarceration when it was necessary to achieve effective communication with him. Further, Mr. Bonner was secluded in the Out-Patient Housing Unit area of SRJ for the duration of his incarceration. This seclusion was allegedly due to concerns over his personal safety if released into the general population and because the Sheriff was unable to communicate with him. Since Mr. Bonner’s detention at SRJ, the Sheriff alleges that the Office has been proactive in addressing these issues.

6. The parties to this Settlement Agreement ("Agreement") are the United States of America and the Sheriff. ..Continued.. by Department of Justice Press Release

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