DRT and Partner Investigating Communication in Tennessee Prisons

  • October 31, 2019


Deaf Inmates in Tennessee Prisons: Effective Communication


Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) and the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center (CREEC) are currently investigating communication barriers for deaf inmates in Tennessee prisons. This includes prisons operated by the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) and by CoreCivic. 

If you are a deaf inmate in a Tennessee prison and are having communication problems OR know a deaf inmate in a Tennessee prison who is having communication problems, please contact DRT by phone at 1-800-342-1660 or by email at GetHelp@DisabilityRightsTN.org.  

Examples of communication problems include:

  • No sign language interpreter for communications like:
    • medical appointments
    • classes
    • classification
    • STRONG-R
  • Using other inmates as “interpreters”
  • Grievance information only in written English
  • No videophones
  • Greater access to telephones than videophones
  • No visual fire and emergency alarms
  • No closed captions on TVs

These are only examples. This is not a complete list of communication problems that may be occurring. 


Please share this information with deaf inmates and their friends and family members. This notice may also be posted in a public place.


See this notice in American Sign Language


View PDF and printable version of this notice

Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) is a nonprofit legal services organization that provides free legal advocacy services to protect the rights of Tennesseans with disabilities.

Middle Tennessee (Admin Office)

2 International Plaza, Suite 825
Nashville, TN 37217

Phone: 615-298-1080
Fax: 615-298-2046

East Tennessee

9050 Executive Park Drive, Suite 101-B
Knoxville, TN 37923

Phone: 865-670-2944
Fax: 865-470-7028

West Tennessee

1407 Union Avenue, Suite 1015
Memphis, TN 38104

Phone: 901-458-6013
Fax: 901-249-2933