There have been well documented difficulties for deaf persons throughout the criminal justice system. These start with encounters from law enforcement, lack of interpreters, poor communication, limited access to attorneys, limited access in the court system, issues in corrections, reentry, etc. Recently, civil rights organizations such as the ACLU has teamed up with non-profits, and state Civil Rights Commissions to level the playing field and have equal access to the legal system for the deaf/hard of hearing community.
The researcher in this study assessed deaf culture and law enforcement in Ohio. A 2x2x2 mixed factor, between persons, non-repeated measures design was used to determine knowledge, attitudes, and preparedness of large and small police departments. Attitudes and knowledge of individuals within and outside of deaf culture were assessed, and analyzed along with gender differences. An interview portion of the study was also included. Results revealed striking legal situations, and focused on need-based corrective actions for the legal community.