By Ben Dunsmoor
Daphne Wright will be the sixth woman serving a life sentence at the South Dakota Women’s Prison in Pierre.
While there are women serving life sentences right now there are no deaf inmates in the South Dakota’s prison system.
And that means the Department of Corrections needs to find a way to communicate with Wright.
The South Dakota Department of Corrections have had inmates who are hearing-impaired in the past, so it does have some procedures in place to handle Daphne Wright.
When she enters the women’s prison, Wright will have to go through several assessments to decide which area of the prison she’ll be placed. In the past, the Women’s Prison has used Department of Human Services staff who know sign language to help with some of the mental health assessments.
Depending on the outcome of those assessments, Wright will be placed in one of four areas: maximum security, high-medium security, low medium security, or minimum security. The five other women serving life sentences are being held in high medium security, two of which have also been convicted of first degree murder.
The initial assessment will also determine her housing, and whether she has a cellmate. But the Department of Corrections says inmates serving a life sentence are usually kept with the rest of the general population. The only inmates kept away from other inmates in the South Dakota prison system are the ones on death row.
Special equipment is also available for telephone communications for deaf inmates and the televisions feature closed captioning. It costs 61 dollars a day to house a prisoner at the women’s prison in Pierre.
(( Source:Â Argus Leader ))