Kentucky Prison Being Sued By Inmates

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- A group of deaf and hearing-impaired Kentucky prison inmates are suing the state seeking to force the Department of Corrections to provide interpreter services for medical visits, videophones and other hearing devices.

The inmates, in a 35-page lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court in Frankfort, claim the Corrections Department is discriminating against them by refusing to provide the accommodations.

Without assistance, the inmates say, they can't adequately communicate with staff, other inmates or their lawyers, depriving them of rights granted to other inmates.

The issue has arisen in other states, including Virginia, where the state and the inmates reached a settlement. States such as Mississippi provide hearing aids when recommended by a doctor while Florida provides assistance as warranted.

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