University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Chester County Prison ADA Investigation JC-PA-0006
Docket / Court DJ 204-62-70 ( No Court )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Jail Conditions
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
In 1994, a deaf inmate incarcerated at the Chester County Prison filed a complaint with the Department of Justice under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). That inmate alleged that Chester County Prison had not provided him with an interpreter for group therapy sessions and ... read more >
In 1994, a deaf inmate incarcerated at the Chester County Prison filed a complaint with the Department of Justice under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). That inmate alleged that Chester County Prison had not provided him with an interpreter for group therapy sessions and disciplinary hearings. The inmate's mother, who was mobility-impaired, also alleged that the visiting area was not accessible to people unable to climb two flights of stairs. She claimed that the prison did not allow visitors to use the elevator because it was in the inmates' part of the building. After receiving the complaint, the United States Department of Justice exercised its authority under the ADA, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134, and 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F, to investigate the inmate's allegations.

On September 12, 1996, the Disability Rights Section of the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and the Chester County Prison signed a non-court settlement agreement. The parties acknowledge that a prison is a "public entity" under the ADA's implementing rules. Under the terms of the settlement, the prison agreed to provide deaf inmates with interpreters or an equally effective alternative upon the inmate's request. An inmate who desired an interpreter was required to request one 24-hours in advance. The prison also agreed to allow visitors with physical disabilities to use the elevator, which would be prominently marked with signs. Although the United States agreed not to pursue the investigation or commence litigation in exchange for these concessions, the United States retained the right to file a lawsuit if the prison failed to abide by the settlement. We have no record of any subsequent lawsuit.

Kristen Sagar - 06/11/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Disability
Hearing impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Counseling
Disciplinary procedures
Visiting
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Defendant(s) Chester County Prison
Plaintiff Description United States Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 1996 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
Additional Resources
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Case Studies After Decision: Implementation of Judicial Decrees in Correctional Settings
Written: Oct. 01, 1977
By: M. Kay Harris & Dudley P. Spiller (Temple University)
Citation: (1977)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Settlement Agreement Between U.S. and the Prison of Chester County, Pennsylvania 09/12/1996
JC-PA-0006-0001 PDF | Detail
Judges None on record
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Magagna, Joan A. (District of Columbia)
JC-PA-0006-0001
Perley, Sharon N. (District of Columbia)
JC-PA-0006-0001
Wodatch, John L. (District of Columbia)
JC-PA-0006-0001
Wolfson, Robb (District of Columbia)
JC-PA-0006-0001
Defendant's Lawyers McFadden, D. Edward (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0006-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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