Judge Michelle Friedland of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Thursday affirmed a district court decision as part of a nearly 30-year-long case regarding the rights of disabled prisoners.
The case, brought in 1994 by a class of California prisoners, challenged the state’s treatment of disabled inmates under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Rehabilitation Act (RA), accusing both the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Governor of California of discriminating against inmates by reason of their disability.
The Court Thursday affirmed the district court’s finding that staff denied reasonable accommodations to prisoners with disabilities on numerous occasions, and that the reason for the discrimination was a lack of an investigation and discipline system at the prisons.
The Court also affirmed the district court’s plan for the prisons, which included installing surveillance cameras and body-worn cameras, reforming processes for staff complaints, investigations, and discipline, monitoring by a court-appointed expert of staff investigation and discipline, and added staff training, among other measures.
The district court in 1994 ruled in favor of the class of prisoners, who have since then brought the case back into the courts on the basis that the Department of Corrections and the Governor have failed to meet the measures set by the court in 1994.