ACLU sues Ohio corrections department on behalf of hearing-impaired inmate convicted of murder

Source: Eric Heisig,, April 7, 2016

A hearing-impaired inmate serving 15-to-life for a 2002 Portage County killing filed suit against the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, saying the department’s refusal to replace his hearing aids is a safety risk. James Handwork, 55, is serving his sentence at the Lake Erie Correctional Institution in Conneaut. The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio filed suit on his behalf on Tuesday in federal court in Cleveland. … Prison officials have refused to replace both hearing aids and said they would only give him one new one, the ACLU says. The officials told Handwork that the corrections department’s policy only requires staff to ensure that an inmate can hear from one ear. … The suit says that the prison system is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act and Handwork’s Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment. The ACLU is asking a judge to issue an injunction requiring the prison to give Handwork new hearing aids and to change their policy to accommodate people who are hard of hearing.