ADA in the Criminal Justice System

The DOJ has issued guidelines for application of the Americans with Disabilities Act in the criminal justice system. The report, “Examples and Resources to Support Criminal Justice Entities in Compliance with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act,”explains how Title II of the ADA applies to individuals with mental health disabilities and intellectual and developmental disabilities in the criminal justice system.  Under the ADA, state and local government criminal justice entities—including police, courts, prosecutors, public defense attorneys, jails, juvenile justice, and corrections agencies—must ensure that people with mental health disabilities are treated equally and are afforded equal opportunities to benefit from safe, inclusive communities.  Nondiscrimination requirements, such as providing reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures and taking appropriate steps to communicate effectively with people with disabilities, also support the goals of ensuring public safety, promoting public welfare, and avoiding unnecessary criminal justice involvement for people with disabilities.

The report includes examples of instances where improved coordination and collaboration between criminal justice entities and disability service systems has generated positive community outcomes, improved policies, and more effective training.

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