American Sign Language Interpreters and Video Remote Interpreting Services
American Sign Language (ASL) Sign Language Interpreters (SLI) and Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) services provide[WS1] infrastructure, service, and training to accommodate Deaf incarcerated individuals enrolled in vocational or educational courses. Staff has a responsibility to achieve effective communication for hearing- and/or speech-impaired incarcerated individuals who utilize American Sign Language (ASL) as their primary method of communication to ensure they receive the required sign language interpretation (SLI) services and have equal access to programs, services, and activities.
A qualified SLI includes a person adept at ASL. To qualify as an ASL interpreter, an individual must pass a test and qualify in one of the five categories established by the National Association for the Deaf, one of the three categories established by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, or as a Support Services Assistant Interpreter from the California Department of Rehabilitation or the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).
VRI streams its service through the CDCR network and the existing video conferencing infrastructure to aid Deaf incarcerated individuals in their path to a successful rehabilitation. This service provides reasonable, yet innovative, accommodations for incarcerated individuals that use ASL under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Teachers and counselors who have one or more ASL Deaf incarcerated individual(s) in a rehabilitative class or session are trained on implementing this system. VRI training includes the operation of the equipment, scheduling VRI services, and logging utilization and quality of the video conference sessions.
CDCR currently houses incarcerated individuals with the Primary Method of Communication (PMC) of ASL at the following nine CDCR locations:
- California Health Care Facility
- California Institution for Men
- California Medical Facility
- California State Prison, Los Angeles County
- Central California Women’s Facility
- North Kern State Prison
- Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility
- Substance Abuse Treatment Facility
- San Quentin State Prison
CDCR employs full time Support Services Assistant Interpreters/SLls at the nine designated SLI institutions, utilizes private contracts with a qualified SLI agency that provides in-person interpreters, and maintains contracts for “On Demand” VRI services.