Insiders in a deaf world, barriers for the deaf offender in the hearing criminal justice system

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Bone, Tracey Anne
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This thesis explores the depth of the barriers faced by the deaf offender within the hearing criminal justice system. Six (6) respondents/informants were interviewed for this qualitative study with the assistance of a semi-structured interview format. The respondents were all audiologically deaf or deafened, and as a condition of this study, communicated primarily through a signed language. These respondents shared their experiences with police intervention including the arrest process, with the criminal courts, and/or with federal or provincial incarceration. The findings of this study revealed that all respondents experienced discriminatory practices largely as a result of their complex communication and cultural differences. These practices included attitudinal, environmental and social/cultural barriers. Those incarcerated appeared to experience the most concentrated barriers. The most significant barrier experienced during incarceration was the communication barriers which arose from the lack of available qualified interpreters. The second most disabling barrier occurred as a result of the oppressive attitudes expressed by the staff. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)