First Advisor

Jonah Eleweke

Date of Award

Spring 6-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in World Languages & Literatures: Spanish and University Honors


World Languages and Literatures




deaf, hard of hearing, accessibility, interpreter, discrimination, justice system




The judicial system is inaccessible to many groups of people for a variety of reasons, one of those populations being the d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing community (DHH). This community faces prejudice and discrimination in many institutions because of their identity, but within the justice system, this prejudice is compounded and controlled by poor legislation and either the lack of, or barriers to, effective communication. At every point in the chronological timeline from getting arrested to achieving parole, individuals who are d/Deaf or Hard of Hearing face discrimination and obstacles that their hearing counterparts do not. The discrimination they face can be both symbolically and physically violent and this paper will discuss examples of physical and emotional abuse/assault (including sexual assault) that have been documented in qualitative studies by discourse community members. The point of this paper is to dissect previous impactful works from the field, examine why there has been little progress in dismantling the systemic and systematic discrimination that has been researched and discussed, and compare suggestions for creating change within the judicial and prison systems such as rewriting legislation, giving more agency to those requesting accommodations, and promoting education of these issues in government settings.


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