The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has strongly rebuked the State of California for failing to fulfill its obligations under the Americans With Disabilities Act to help protect parolees with disabilities who have been sent to county jails under California’s realignment of state prisons. The court upheld a lower court order requiring state prison officials to track disabled parolees and alert the counties to their needs.
RBGG partner Gay Grunfeld, who is lead counsel in the case, is quoted in a Los Angeles Times article on the impact of the court’s decision: “This is a great remedy, and we hope that this will be the last discussion we have to have about whether the state has to provide information and grievance procedures for parolees.” Full text of the 9th Circuit opinion is available here.
The court concluded that realignment legislation does not absolve the State from responsibility for ADA violations in county jails and reiterates the State’s ongoing obligations to Armstrong class members while they are housed in county jails. The court notes that plaintiffs extensively documented ongoing systemic violations of the ADA and Rehabilitation Act in the county jails, violations that could be ameliorated or even ended by information sharing by the State. The court affirms the district court’s remedy, which requires daily email notifications to the jails informing them of the ADA needs of parolees and the State’s provision of grievance forms to each parolee.