Massachusetts - Archive

Massachusetts testing program to clear way for deaf jurors

July 26, 2015 in Community News, Disability Law

 

 

REUTERS
Jul 24, 2015
BY SCOTT MALONE

Massachusetts is testing a program that would enable profoundly deaf people to serve on juries in state courts with the help of sign-language interpreters, in an effort described by advocates for the deaf as the most extensive in the United States.

The program, which has so far been tested in eight of the state’s 14 counties, aims to provide deaf Massachusetts residents summoned to jury duty with American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters from the moment they arrive at a courthouse, through jury selection and trial, officials said on Friday.

The program is expected to go into full operation statewide next year, said Heidi Reed, who heads the state’s Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

“We wanted to ensure that affected jurors who used ASL would have the opportunity to go through the selection process and potentially serve on a jury,” Reed said.

Previously, deaf people who were summoned for jury duty in the state had to specially request assistance or defer service. The state estimates that 1 percent of the population is deaf, with about 400 deaf people called for jury duty in a typical year.

Read more . . . . Jurors 

Searching for the Deaf history of Martha’s Vineyard

April 14, 2015 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness

 

 

Mike Mantin

The island of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts has a legendary place in Deaf history. Known by most as an affluent resort where the kinds of people who use ‘Summer’ as a verb go to Summer, it is also hugely important as an island which from the 17th century to the 1950s had an unusually high number of Deaf residents.

In places like Chilmark, up to one in twenty-five people were Deaf, and the small town of Squibnocket had one in four, all of whom were well known and respected members of the community. As such, both Deaf and hearing residents incorporated the specific Martha’s Vineyard Sign Language into their daily lives. This effectively eradicated many of the social and linguistic boundaries which Deaf people continue to experience in society today.

Read more. . . view pictures . . . Martha’s Vineyard