An article in California Watch on October 8, 2012 provides a look at the human cost of the State of California’s failure to provide counties with information about the disabilities of prisoners being transferred to county jails, “Disabled Inmates Suffer in Shift to County Jails.”  The article details hardships encountered by prisoners with disabilities who were denied accommodations at county jails that they had previously been provided at the state level.

Gay Grunfeld of Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld is lead counsel for plaintiffs in Armstrong v. Brown, a long-running class action that seeks to uphold the rights of prisoners with disabilities in California state prisons under the Americans With Disabilities Act.  On September 5, 2012 at an expedited hearing before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, Grunfeld argued that the State remains responsible for parolees with disabilities who are being housed in county jails and that a lower court’s order that the State share information about parolees’ disabilities with the counties should be upheld.  More about that argument here.

The California Watch article quotes Grunfeld: “This idea that the state and the counties are totally separate is just inconsistent with reality.  I’m very confident that providing information about the particular parolees is going to help everybody improve.” 

Grunfeld goes on to say that county jails have no excuse for not complying with the Americans With Disabilities Act – the federal law that protects all Americans with disabilities.  “If they’re worried,” she said, “they should start complying.”