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Justice Department Issues Guidance Related to Criminal Justice Entities and Individuals with Mental Health or Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

January 11, 2017
Source: U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects individuals with mental health disabilities or [intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD)] from discrimination within the criminal justice system. Individuals who work for criminal justice entities, such as police officers and corrections officers, must sometimes make split-second decisions in very dangerous situations. While the ADA can require adjustments to policies, practices, and procedures to accommodate an individuals disability, what is required in a given situation depends on a variety of factors, including the safety of the officers, the individual with the disability, and the public.

The Justice Department issued guidance today to facilitate criminal justice entities compliance with the ADA during interactions with individuals with mental health disabilities or I/DD. The document sets forth the key regulatory provisions under the ADA and provides examples of how local law enforcement, corrections, and justice systems entities have facilitated compliance with these obligations. The document also provides recommendations for anticipating and preparing for disability-related needs of individuals with mental health disabilities or I/DD by training criminal justice personnel, conducting reviews of policies and procedures, and collaborating with mental health and disability service providers. Lastly, the document provides examples from the Departments criminal justice enforcement actions and includes links to additional governmental resources.

For a copy of the guidance document, Examples and Resources to Support Criminal Justice Entities in Compliance with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, or to find out more about the ADA, visit or call the Justice Departments toll-free ADA Information Line at 1-800-514-0301 or 1-800-0383 (TDD).

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