Hi everyone,

Currently, deaf people when they go to prision there usually have no interpreters and/or video phones.  I’ve recently worked with a non profit organization called Helping Educate to Advocate the Rights of Deaf (HEARD, http://behearddc.org/) for past few years.  They have been working hard on doing awesome things for deaf people in prision.

Right now they need our help to fight the FCC for equal Communication Access for Deaf Prisoners! Please watch the below video blog and message:

Video Blog:

HEARD Letter in PDF:



Please share the attached document widely.  Deaf Community members & Allies should submit comments to the FCC by March 25, 2013.  

On December 28, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to address the long-standing issue of high prison telephone rates.  Hearing prisoners’ telephone calls can cost their family members as much as $17 for just 15 minutes of time.  These excessive rates prevent families from maintaining contact with loved ones.

Deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, speech impaired, and hearing prisoners with deaf family members endure an even greater financial burden with respect to telephone rates due to a number of factors, including (1) telephone rates being applied evenly to TTY and regular voice phone calls, the former of which is much more time-consuming; (2) failure of prisons to install videophones and captioned telephones; (3) security measures that either prevent deaf prisoners from calling relay operators or cause them to incur additional fees by requiring relay services; and (4) security measures that require deaf prisoners to only place collect calls.

The FCC has requested public comments on whether prisoner phone rates and on deaf & disabled prisoner telecommunications access. The attached document explains some of the inequities that persist for deaf, signing & speech impaired prisoners and their families with regard to rates for and access to telecommunications in prison.  Please follow the directions in the document to submit a comment to the FCC.

HEARD will post a signed & captioned video of this information this week.

TL (Talila A. Lewis)

P.O. Box 1160
Washington, D.C. 20013
202.455.8076 voice
202.436.9278 VP

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