New Report Shows 750,000 People with Disabilities Behind Bars; Offers Specific Recommendations to Include Disability Lens in Justice Reform Process



To download the report in an accessible Word document, click HERE
To download the PowerPoint presentation in an accessible PPT, click
HERE
Watch the video of our panel discussion on Capitol Hill HERE
Read the transcript of our panel discussion HERE

Disability and Criminal Just Reform Keys to Success
Washington, June 20 – As the White House and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle consider criminal justice reform, a new white paper,
“Disability & Criminal Justice Reform: Keys to Success” was released today by the nonprofit disability organization, RespectAbility. The report uses public data previously available but never before assembled and analyzed. It makes a series of recommendations to reduce the school-to-prison pipeline for people with disabilities, to enable incarcerated individuals with disabilities to receive the literacy and life skills they will need when they exit the justice system as well as have access to their human rights, and to help returning citizens become productive members of their communities.

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Advocates Protest Disability Snuff Film “Me Before You”

Washington, June 3 – Disability rights advocates in cities across the United States and around the world are protesting the latest Hollywood movie to end with the assisted suicide or euthanasia of the lead disabled character. Protests already have been held in New York City, Boston and Denver, with more planned throughout opening weekend in Los Angeles, Berkeley, Atlanta, Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia and other cities.

Me Before You is scheduled for general audience release on Friday, June 3rd. Some cities also have been providing advance screenings. Members of Not Dead Yet UK protested at the London premier on May 24th and garnered significant mainstream media coverage (GuardianBuzzfeed) during the protest and in the days following.

“The last big example of this tired theme was Million Dollar Baby, which came out before the major growth of social media but still resulted in protests covered in the New York Times,” said Stephen Drake, research analyst for Not Dead Yet (USA). “We can’t begin to keep track of the people and cities involved this time.”

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RespectAbility Hires National Leadership Director, Advances Leadership Opportunities

New Hire Brian Rowe Offers Nine Years Experience in Disability Field Promoting Skills Training and Job Placements

Brian Rowe

Brian Rowe

Rockville, Md. – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization working to empower Americans with disabilities to achieve the American Dream, is proud to introduce our new National Leadership Director, Brian Rowe.

“RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program offers hands-on work experiences and coaching for Fellows over a period of at least nine weeks in a dynamic and supportive environment,” President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi said. “We are excited to announce Brian Rowe’s hiring, which will enable our Fellows to gain leadership skills and develop a portfolio of contacts while advancing our agenda.”

Prior to joining RespectAbility, Rowe worked in the disability field for nine years. He was a Program Manager for a company providing residential support for people with disabilities in Virginia. Rowe worked to accomplish the mission of helping persons with disabilities find happiness in their own homes, in their personal relationships and as contributing members of their communities. 

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South Dakota Disability Voter Guide Released: State has Highest Rate of Employment for People with Disabilities

Text: #PwDsVote Presidential Questionnaire: South Dakota Voter Guide, images of presidential candidates: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump

Washington, May 31 – As voters head to the polls in South Dakota next week, RespectAbility is releasing its South Dakota Disability Voter Guide.

South Dakota ranks first in the nation for employment of people with disabilities as more than half the working-age people with disabilities (50.1 percent) in South Dakota have a job. Indeed, individuals with disabilities in South Dakota are TWICE as likely to be working as those in the worst performing state of West Virginia where only 25.6 percent have jobs. Rounding out the top five states in terms of best outcomes are North Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming.

There are 108,112 people with a disability living in South Dakota, 47,700 of whom are of working age (between the ages of 21 and 64). The 4,000 youth with disabilities between the ages of 16 and 20 living in South Dakota have increasing chances to successfully transition into the world of work. South Dakota’s voters are looking to know where the candidates stand on important disability issues in order to increase opportunities for competitive, integrated employment for people with disabilities.

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Washington, D.C., Disability Voter Guide Released

Text: #PwDsVote Presidential Questionnaire: Washington, D.C., Voter Guide, images of presidential candidates: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump

Washington, May 30 – As the District’s Democrats head to the polls in two weeks, RespectAbility is releasing its Washington, D.C., Disability Voter Guide.

There are 68,830 people with a disability living in Washington, D.C., 40,200 of whom are of working age (between the ages of 21 and 64). There are an additional 4,800 people ages 16-20 with disabilities, many of whom are hoping to enter the workforce. The District’s voters are looking to know where the candidates stand on important disability issues in order to increase opportunities for competitive, integrated employment for people with disabilities.

The #PwDsVote 2016 Campaign Questionnaire was designed for people with disabilities (PwDs) and those who love them to know where candidates stand on the issues. The questionnaire asked all of the presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle to comment on 16 disability questions. Former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders responded by addressing all of the questions. They each have significantly different views on the issues.

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Updated North Dakota Disability Voter Guide Released: State has Second Highest Rate of Employment for People with Disabilities

Text: #PwDsVote Presidential Questionnaire: North Dakota Voter Guide, images of presidential candidates: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump

Washington, May 30 – As North Dakota’s Democrats head to the polls next week, RespectAbility is releasing its updated North Dakota Disability Voter Guide.

North Dakota has the coveted distinction of being the state with the second highest rate of employment for individuals with disabilities, employing 49.9 percent of their citizens with disabilities, coming in closely behind South Dakota at 50.1 percent.

Fully 49.9 percent of the 38,037 working-age (between the ages of 21 and 64) people with disabilities are employed in North Dakota. The 2,100 youth with disabilities between the ages of 16 and 20 living in North Dakota have increasing chances to successfully transition into the world of work. North Dakota’s voters are looking to know where the candidates stand on important disability issues in order to increase opportunities for competitive, integrated employment for people with disabilities.

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New Mexico Disability Voter Guide Released: State’s Apprenticeship Program Serves People with Disabilities

Text: #PwDsVote Presidential Questionnaire: New Mexico Voter Guide, images of presidential candidates: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump

Washington, May 30 – As voters head to the polls in New Mexico next week, RespectAbility is releasing its New Mexico Disability Voter Guide.

There are 311,773 people with a disability living in New Mexico, 157,900 of whom are of working age (between the ages of 21 and 64). There are an additional 9,900 people ages 16-20 with disabilities, many of whom are hoping to enter the workforce. New Mexico’s voters are looking to know where the candidates stand on important disability issues in order to increase opportunities for competitive, integrated employment for people with disabilities.

The #PwDsVote 2016 Campaign Questionnaire was designed for people with disabilities (PwDs) and those who love them to know where candidates stand on the issues. The questionnaire asked all of the presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle to comment on 16 disability questions. Former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders responded by addressing all of the questions. They each have significantly different views on the issues.

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New Jersey Disability Voter Guide: State Puts Employment First for People with Disabilities

Text: #PwDsVote Presidential Questionnaire: New Jersey Voter Guide, images of presidential candidates: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump

Washington, May 25 – As voters head to the polls in New Jersey next month, RespectAbility is releasing its New Jersey Disability Voter Guide.

There are 935,833 people with a disability living in New Jersey, 409,000 of whom are of working age (between the ages of 21 and 64). There are an additional 20,300 people ages 16-20 with disabilities, many of whom are hoping to enter the workforce. New Jersey’s voters are looking to know where the candidates stand on important disability issues in order to increase opportunities for competitive, integrated employment for people with disabilities.

The #PwDsVote 2016 Campaign Questionnaire was designed for people with disabilities (PwDs) and those who love them to know where candidates stand on the issues. The questionnaire asked all of the presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle to comment on 16 disability questions. Former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders responded by addressing all of the questions. They each have significantly different views on the issues.

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Freddie Gray: Nearly Half of People Killed by Police are People with Disabilities

Important to Understand Significance that Gray’s Disability had in Leading to his Death

Washington, May 23 – As the verdict comes down on the death of Freddie Gray in police custody in Baltimore, the first trial of his accused killers has come to an end. One of six officers charged in connection with the arrest and subsequent death of Gray last April was acquitted. However, more attention needs to be paid to the fact that Gray was an individual with a disability and the role disability played in his involvement with the justice system.

Freddie Gray had a developmental disability from being raised in a home surrounded by lead paint in an economically disadvantaged neighborhood. Disability is both a cause and consequence of poverty. Poverty, itself, is linked to racial injustice. Racism can make it harder to escape poverty or receive necessary supports for disability. As a report by The Ruderman Family Foundation notes, a third to one-half of all people killed by police are people with disabilities and this is an important lens that cannot be forgotten when examining cases like Freddie Gray’s.
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Montana Disability Voter Guide Released: 40 Percent of Montanans with Disabilities Are Employed

Text: #PwDsVote Presidential Questionnaire: Montana Voter Guide, images of presidential candidates: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump

Washington, May 19 – As voters head to the polls in Montana next month, RespectAbility is releasing its Montana Disability Voter Guide. Montana’s voters are looking to know where the candidates stand on important disability issues in order to increase opportunities for competitive, integrated employment for people with disabilities.

The #PwDsVote 2016 Campaign Questionnaire was designed for people with disabilities (PwDs) and those who love them to know where candidates stand on the issues. The questionnaire asked all of the presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle to comment on 16 disability questions. Former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders responded by addressing all of the questions. They each have significantly different views on the issues.

Despite numerous requests in person and by phone and email, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has not yet filled out the questionnaire. However, several Republican candidates who have since dropped out of the race did respond to the questionnaire including former Gov. Jeb Bush, who addressed all of the questions, and Dr. Ben Carson, Gov. Chris Christie and Gov. John Kasich, all of whom filled out parts of the questionnaire.

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