Persons with disabilities represent one of the nation's largest minority populations. They are overrepresented in the criminal legal system, both as those who are accused and as victims of crime. Both in the criminal legal system and in broader society, persons with disabilities have not been granted full access to the processes and protections afforded to the general population. This training provides an introduction to some of the issues and challenges that exist in our criminal legal system for persons with disabilities.
Lauren Brice (Sr. Assistant Public Defender, Arlington, VA) provides an introduction to the Arlington Disability and Criminal Justice System Coalition mission while also identifying and confirming values consistent with that mission.
Ann Deschamps (Vice President of TransCen Inc. and Co-Director of the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center), Broderick Lindsey (Assistant Director of Professional Compliance and Captain, Arlington County Sheriff’s Office), and J.P. McMichael (Assistant Director of Inmate Services and Captain, Arlington County Sheriff’s Office) overview legal requirements including the ADA, Constitution, and other relevant federal and state laws.
Lucy Beadnell (Director of Advocacy, The Arc of Northern Virginia) and Melissa Heifetz, Esq. (Advocacy Partners, LLC) provide an introduction to common developmental disabilities and discuss developing a language of inclusion.
Jonathan Martinis, Esq., J.D. (Senior Director for Law and Policy, the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University) explains Supported-Decision Making (SDM). SDM is where persons with disabilities work with trusted friends, family members, and professionals to help them understand the situations and choices they face, so they may make their own decisions – rather than be subjected to a unnecessary permanent, plenary or full guardianship.
Laurie Hallmark, Esq. (Special Project Director for Mental Health Programs, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid) explains and details Psychiatric Advance Directives (PADs). PADs are a self-determination-based rights document, and the foundation for holistic advocacy. Through PADs, people with mental illness provide information regarding treatment preferences and personalized de-escalation techniques for law enforcement, crisis workers, medical and criminal justice personnel, and family and friends. In addition, PADs provide critical information regarding effective communication, enabling lawyers, courts, jail staff, probation and others to provide the necessary accommodations.
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