Title II (Subtitle A) of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits State and local entities from discriminating against any qualified individual with a disability in their programs, services, and activities. DOCCS is required to make “reasonable accommodations” or modifications to existing policies and procedures to allow parolees with disabilities the same opportunities as non-disabled parolees, unless to do so would be an undue burden to DOCCS, cause a fundamental alteration to a program, or compromise the safety or security of a Community Supervision office or facility.
Parolees with disabilities have a right to request reasonable accommodations to make programs and services more accessible and usable. Under the ADA, individuals with a disability are persons:
- with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more life activities, such as walking, talking, hearing, seeing, caring for oneself, learning, or working;
- with a record of such impairment; or
- regarded as having such impairment.
DOCCS is committed to assuring fair and equitable treatment of parolees with disabilities who are under supervision in the community and seeking access to DOCCS facilities and offices, programs, services, and activities.
Under the ADA, discrimination against parolees with disabilities is prohibited. It is the policy of DOCCS that all facilities, programs, services, and activities are to be readily accessible to qualified individuals with disabilities. DOCCS requires its employees to follow policies and procedures to make the Department's facilities, programs, and services accessible to individuals with disabilities unless doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of a program, service, or activity or create an undue administrative burden on DOCCS.
A reasonable accommodation is essentially any allowable change in the environment, policies or procedures, or manner in which tasks are completed that enables a “qualified individual with a disability” to participate in a particular program or service.
Reasonable accommodation is also any modification or adjustment to a job or the work environment that will enable a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions. It also includes adjustments to assure that qualified individuals with a disability have rights and privileges in employment equal to those of employees without disabilities.
While under supervision in the community, interested individuals should request assistance from their Parole Officer (PO), Senior Parole Officer (SPO) or Bureau Chief (BC). All requests for reasonable accommodation will be reviewed and responded to by the PO, SPO, or BC.
The PO will document request(s) for a reasonable accommodation in the individual's supervision record. Where necessary, the PO, SPO, or BC will seek the assistance of the DOCCS Statewide ADA Coordinator when responding to requests for reasonable accommodations, or when assistance is needed in identifying resources or services in the community.
DOCCS has a number of resources and the ability to utilize outside resources for purposes of providing reasonable accommodations to parolees under supervision.
Right to File Grievance
A request for a reasonable accommodation can be denied if the person requesting the accommodation is not a “qualified individual with a disability” or if providing the requested accommodation would cause an undue hardship to DOCCS.
If a request for reasonable accommodation has been denied, individuals have the right to file a grievance, in writing, in accordance with DOCCS Directive 9402, “Parolee Grievance Program”.
Individuals who cannot write or who have difficulty communicating in writing can request assistance from their PO, the SPO or BC.
Employment Parolees with Disabilities
Qualified individuals with a disability are persons with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, and who meet the legitimate skill, experience, education, or other requirements of an employment position that they hold or seek and who can perform the “essential functions” of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.
If individuals are qualified to perform essential job functions except for limitations caused by a disability, employers must consider whether the individual could perform these functions with a reasonable accommodation. If a written job description has been prepared in advance of advertising or interviewing applicants for a job, this will be considered as evidence, although not conclusive evidence, of the essential functions of the job.
Essential functions of the job are those core duties that are the reason the job exists. For example, an essential function of a typist's position is the ability to type; an essential function of a bus driver's position is the ability to drive. Requiring the ability to perform “essential” functions assures that individuals with a disability will not be considered unqualified because of their inability to perform marginal or incidental job functions.