Persons with disabilities represent one of the nation's largest minority populations. They are overrepresented in the criminal legal system as persons who are accused as well as persons who are victims of crime. In both the criminal legal system and in society generally, persons with disabilities are often denied meaningful access to the processes and protections afforded to the general population. These training materials and resources provide introduction to some of the issues and challenges that exist in our criminal legal system for persons with disabilities.
Professor Michele LaVigne (Emeritus Distinguished Clinical Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin Law School) details the history and present understanding of language impairments and how language impairments impact a person's interactions with the criminal legal system.
Nancy Mercer (Inclusion Consultants, LLC) explains how criminal legal system stakeholders can improve their identification of persons who may have a disability and details some best practices for interacting with persons with varying types of disabilities. Nancy concludes her presentation by playing A Credo For Support by Norman Kunc.
Bonnie Hoffman (Director of Public Defense Reform and Training, NACDL) dispels some of the common myths and misconceptions about persons with disabilities. Bonnie also shares self-advocate video messages containing their insightful advice for stakeholders.
Eileen Shaffer (Director of the ALLY Advocacy Center, The Arc of Loudoun) and Morgan Theilacker (Program Manager, Developmental Disabilities Services Bureau, Arlington, VA) present and highlight many of the services available to persons with disabilities in Arlington County.
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For more links and information on the intersection of disability rights and the criminal legal system, visit our resources page: