ACLU suit: Inmate at private Ohio prison denied hearing aids

CLEVELAND (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio is suing the state prisons department for not providing two functional hearing aids to a hearing-impaired inmate at Lake Erie Correctional Institution.

A lawsuit filed Thursday in federal district court in Cleveland alleges the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction’s statewide policy of providing only one hearing aid to inmates is unconstitutional and violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The ACLU says inmate James Handwork’s hearing was damaged during Army service in the 1980s, requiring a hearing aid in each ear. His current hearing aids no longer work and can’t be repaired. The suit contends the prison, owned by Corrections Corporation of America since 2012, should provide both replacements. It calls the state policy arbitrary.

A message seeking comment was left with the department.

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