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Feds Say Florida Routinely Violated Disabled Inmates Rights

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – The U.S. Justice Department has stepped into a nearly year-old lawsuit against the Florida Department of Corrections, alleging that the state’s prison agency “systematically violates the rights of inmates with disabilities.”

The 12-page document, filed in federal court in Tallahassee, focused on inmates who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The Justice Department, in part, alleged that the state routinely fails to provide hearing aids, interpreters and types of communication devices that inmates could use to contact attorneys, families or friends.

The organization Disability Rights Florida filed the lawsuit last January against the Department of Corrections, alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws. In a document filed in June, the department denied systemic violations of laws designed to protect people with disabilities.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

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