The Isolation of Being Deaf in Prison
“I didn’t have a way to communicate. And they basically just flipped me the bird.”
by Jeremy Woody as told to Christie Thompson, The Marshall Project
When I was in state prison in Georgia in 2013, I heard about a class called “Motivation for Change.” I think it had to do with changing your mindset. I’m not actually sure, though, because I was never able to take it. On the first day, the classroom was full, and the teacher was asking everybody’s name. When my turn came, I had to write my name on a piece of paper and give it to a guy to speak it for me. The teacher wrote me a message on a piece of paper: “Are you deaf?”
“Yes, I’m deaf,” I said.
Then she told me to leave the room. I waited outside for a few minutes, and the teacher came out and said, “Sorry, the class is not open to deaf individuals. Go back to the dorm.”
I was infuriated. I asked several other deaf guys in the prison about it, and they said the same thing happened to them. From that point forward, I started filing grievances. They kept denying them, of ...