Complaint Filed August 8, 2018: Melvin JOHNSON, Jamal SCOTT, and Armando TORRES v. NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND COMMUNITY SUPERVISION, GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO, in his official capacity, ACTING COMMISSIONER ANTHONY ANNUCCI, in his official capacity, and THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Today Disability Rights New York (DRNY) filed a lawsuit on behalf of three named Plaintiffs against New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) in the Western District of New York. DRNY alleges that DOCCS has violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12182 et seq. and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (“Section 504”), 29 U.S.C. § 794. DRNY is seeking class certification.
DOCCS houses inmates who need a higher level of medical attention than inmates housed in the general population in five Regional Medical Units (RMUs). All inmates in the RMUs are people with disabilities. These RMUs are located in Correctional Facilities around the state. DOCCS offers services, like vocational training, religious services, the law library and family reunification services, to inmates in the general population but does not allow inmates housed in RMUs to attend these services.
“DOCCS has consistently refused to provide the services that are routinely available to inmates without disabilities.” Tim Clune, DRNY Exec. Dir., “This is a clear discriminatory policy prohibited by the ADA and Section 504.”
DRNY is the designated independent non-profit Protection & Advocacy System empowered by Congress to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect and provide legal and non-legal advocacy services to people with disabilities in New York State. The Protection & Advocacy System was created by Congress as a direct result of the horrific conditions that were uncovered in the 1970's at New York’s Willowbrook State School.