Tuesday, April 15, 2008

KHOU-TV investigates problems for deaf inmates at Harris County Jail

Great topic, poorly done. KHOU-TV in Houston did a story about the outdated TDDs (Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf) in the Harris County Jail, which meant that one inmate who is deaf never could contact his family while he was in the jail. According to the story, many more deaf people now use video phones rather than the text-based TDDs.

Communication access for deaf people who are incarcerated is a wonderful topic, but this story dripped with pity as the reporter referred several times to the "silence" in which the deaf person lives. The reporter even implied that sign language interpretation is often confusing. Not true. Experienced interpreters are typically not confused because they are completely fluent in sign language.

A true lost opportunity to really explore an important access issue because the reporter spent most of his time focused on his own amazement at the "man who lives his life in silence," as he put it.