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Old 05-22-2008, 05:39 PM
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Default WA DOC Press Release: Reaches Settlement in Americans with Disabilities Act Claim

DOC Reaches Settlement in Americans with Disabilities Act Claim

OLYMPIA – The Department of Corrections (DOC) this week reached a preliminary settlement in a class action lawsuit filed by offenders who claimed work release facilities were closed to them because of their disabilities.

DOC will pay a total settlement of $298,800. This settlement includes a $30,000 payment to the named plaintiff, Rickey Peralez, and $1,800 to each of the 166 offenders who are qualified class members. DOC will also pay attorney fees as determined by the court.

In addition to the settlement, the Department has changed the process used to assign offenders to work release facilities to ensure equal access to offenders experiencing disabilities.

The original case was filed in May 2006 by former Stafford Creek Corrections Center inmate Rickey Peralez. He claimed he was refused admittance to the Lincoln Park Work Release facility in Tacoma because he relied upon a wheelchair. Offenders at Lincoln Park must climb stairs to access the second floor men’s dormitory.

The court determined that there was a group of disabled inmates who had not been given equal access to the work release program and granted class status to the plaintiffs.

Most of DOC’s work release facilities are accessible to offenders with disabilities, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Contact: Jeff Weathersby, Communications Department (360) 725-8802
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