Background for Justice For All Storytelling Contest

Background for the 'Justice for All' Storytelling Contest:

Our 'Justice for All' Humanitarian Activities Committee Event aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: 4 Quality Education, 5 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, 10 Reduced Inequalities (for example, hearing loss), and 16 Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions. We are focusing on increasing Communication Strategies and Access: if people have hearing loss or deafness, they are not able to communicate effectively and miss important Education opportunities. People with hearing loss might not be fully able to assist in their own defense in a Justice system. They may not fully hear and understand what is going on in Court, thereby risking Justice for All.

To increase Effective Communication, Accommodation is needed. However, expensive accommodation infrastructure is not ubiquitous, it’s cumbersome, requires planning, and often fails to meet the needs of people with hearing loss. Mainstream communications like Mobile Phones, WiFi, Internet, etc. are low cost, incorporate open source development platforms where many people from the community can create Sustainable solutions that resolve a variety of issues, address focused communities of interest, and offer possibilities that didn’t exist before.

Now, stakeholders and members of the communities in need can develop or contribute to the design and development of solutions that will be more helpful. There are free open source hearing aid algorithms available through excellent research organizations including Fraunhofer, and these new options are more flexible for sustainability and low cost distribution, especially for people with limited resources. We can leverage such solutions with cloud connected architecture and distribution to improve communication in schools, offices, healthcare settings, courts, government offices to promote SDG 4 Quality Education, SDG 5 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, SDG 10 Reduce Inequities for People With Disabling Hearing Loss and Deafness, and to increase likelihood for SDG 16 Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions.

From the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report on Disabilities Among Prison and Jail Inmates, 2011-2012:

"...disability types: hearing, vision, cognitive, ambulatory, self-care, and independent living.„

An estimated 32% of prisoners and 40% of jail inmates reported having at least one disability.„

Prisoners were nearly 3 times more likely and jail inmates were more than 4 times more likely than the general population to report having at least one disability."

Communications issues can lead to less Quality Education, fewer opportunities in the Economy, and can increase consequences of poverty including poor health and the impact of crime, which is multi-faceted. Even in Court, where people should be heard, Costs can be Onerous for all the interactions among citizens, attorneys, witnesses, family, experts, government, Judges, etc. Many people just give up and plead to some crime or other (90% defendants take a plea rather than going to trial), resulting in going to jail or prison, where things will get worse.

When people have hearing loss, they do not share vocabulary common in High Technology Dialogue, Legal Dialog, and making listening and communicating more complicated. Even professional and trained 911 operators or law enforcement have difficulties understanding and communicating with those who have hearing loss. Although texting is often used, the deaf community has a different grammar (which might more closely follow the grammar of American Sign Language) and style of texting and 911 operators fail to understand. It is national news that people with hearing loss are sometimes abused or shot by law enforcement because they cannot hear instructions, and then they cannot comply with instructions, or they cannot comply in a timely fashion. Every aspect of life is impacted – even a health emergency. With or without hearing aids, many deaf people cannot hear a smoke detector or alarm, and are at extreme risk in situations where their peers are not.

We recognize that although Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the Law of the Land, Judges exercise discretion about how onerous and expensive reasonable accommodation might be. There is a high percentage of people in jail and prison with hearing loss and deafness and other disabling conditions. We would like to bring the message that many people have hearing loss and require improved communication to have a fair chance at learning, cooperating, being healthy, being employed, and receiving Justice.

Because of less access to education, jobs, healthcare, and justice, people with hearing loss and deafness experience greater disparity in society. Cost of accommodating is expensive preventing solutions from helping the people who need it most. Deaf people can be excused from Jury Duty because of the difficulties in following a case when others can hear, but a deaf juror cannot. Judges don’t have to accommodate deaf in the courtroom except while the person is on the stand. Jail Alcoholics Anonymous programs, Anger Management, Education, and telephone services often omit accommodation meaning that those with hearing loss cannot take advantage of the programs. Some jail phone facilities do not permit 800 number calls which are the means to connect with the Relay Operators for the deaf.

We would like to raise awareness to the need for sound institutions and Justice for All, and to engage more people in the project. We envision a day when people with hearing loss and deafness have as much access to Sound Institutions and Justice as everybody else and we look forward to the day when people with hearing loss do not have to self-identify and ask for accommodation. Many people become discouraged and no longer request accommodation, having been denied accommodation in so many places and under so many circumstances for a variety of reasons, including discretion of an individual and budget. But rather, we would like to promote that the mainstream communication systems can provide needed accommodation for many more people than can be served in the present time.

An example of a new mainstream solution for hearing loss on the mobile phone is the Google speech transcription app.

Students and stakeholders can provide insight into the appropriate means of developing a reasonable feasible solution and socializing the solutions for Justice for All. The Team, Stakeholders, Community, and the Students will shape the future. Through this effort, we would like to encourage everyone to engage in Humanitarian Activities projects, to invent the future, and change the world.

“'According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 32 percent of federal prisoners and 40 percent of people in jail have at least one disability,' according to the report.

The organization broke down the statistics on disability;

more than 751,000 people with disabilities are behind bars in America, including:

  • 146,000 who are blind or have vision loss,
  • 153,000 who are deaf or have significant hearing impairments,
  • More than 219,000 who have mobility issues, and
  • more than 504,000 with cognitive impairments,
  • according to the website."

Mock Trial Part 1

Some interesting links:

Team Members include but are not limited to:

  • IEEE New Jersey Coast Section, IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee Project Team, IEEE-USA PACE, and IEEE Volunteers, Kit August, PhD, Margaret J Lyons, PE, Filomena Citarella, Dave Nall, Eamon Wall, Esquire
  • The Honorable Dr Duncan Rogers Lee, II Esquire, and the Nyack High School Mock Trial Team Nyack New York
  • Members of the Community at Stevens Institute of Technology, Lisa Nocks, PhD, Hong Man, PhD
  • Members of the Community at Herriot Watt University, Mathini Sellathurai, PhD
  • Members of the Community at Charles Sturt University, Herbert Jelinek, PhD
  • Members of the Community at AGH University of Science and Technology, Andrzej M.J. Skulomowski, PhD
  • Members of the Community at University of Wisconsin, Carla Winsor, MS
  • Advisors and Stakeholders from the Community, Avi Hauser, PhD, Nitza Hauser, Cheryl Bliss, Ellen Lawrence
  • Advisor at Gallaudet University, Christian Vogler, PhD
  • Advisor at Harvard Law School, Derek Davis, Esquire