Structured Negotiation Helps Disability Rights Washington Improve Care for Transgender Incarcerated People

By admin
This is an article about a settlement agreement. It was negotiated by lawyers at

Disability Rights Washington
ORG

. The agreement protects the rights of transgender people in prison in

Washington State
GPE

. This includes disabled people. Transgender people will now get the health care they need while incarcerated. Instead of fighting in a lawsuit, the parties used

Structured Negotiation
ORG

. This is a collaborative process that avoids the expense and stress of a lawsuit. When the negotiation was over the agreement was filed in court. Congratulations to

the AVID Program
ORG

at

Disability Rights
ORG

Washington on this important settlement.

On

October 11, 2023
DATE

, the

AVID
PERSON

program at

Disability Rights Washington
ORG

(

DRW
ORG

) issued a press release with the headline “

DRW Reaches Agreement
WORK_OF_ART

With

Washington State Department of Corrections
ORG

(

DOC
ORG

) To Improve Care For Transgender People With Disabilities.”


The Parties used Structured Negotiation
WORK_OF_ART

to achieve this important result for the rights of incarcerated transgender people, including those with disabilities.

Signing a Structured Negotiation agreement to negotiate in good faith was important from the beginning to establish trust, and I believe it helped keep the parties at the table as we worked to craft and implement a landmark result that was years in the making.

Ethan Frenchman
PERSON

,

AVID Program
ORG

Attorney at

Disability Rights
ORG

Washington

After the agreement was reached, the parties filed it in court on

the same day
DATE

a complaint was filed. This strategy, referred to as a consent decree, allows the court to retain jurisdiction as the settlement is implemented.

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The negotiated agreement, including lawyer fees

Elements of the parties’ agreement are described in

AVID
PERSON

’s press release announcing the settlement. They include the following:

“Patients with gender dysphoria will also be promptly evaluated for gender-affirming surgeries and procedures by a community expert in gender-affirming care and patients will have access to gender-affirming mental health care,” and


The Department of Corrections
ORG

will “ensure that any person with an active prescription for hormone replacement therapy in the community will continue receiving their prescription in prison and that transgender individuals seeking hormone replacement therapy in prison for the

first
ORDINAL

time will generally be eligible to receive such medication upon request absent major medical contra-indications.”

The parties in this case also negotiated attorneys’ fees for

Disability Rights
ORG

Washington.

In civil rights cases in

the United States
GPE

, laws like

the Americans with Disabilities Act
ORG

(

ADA
ORG

) provide for attorneys’ fees for plaintiffs and their lawyers who are successful in pursing civil rights cases such as

AVID
PERSON

’s case with

the Washington State Department of Corrections
ORG

. These are called “fee shifting laws” because in

the United States
GPE

people typically have to pay their own lawyers. These laws recognize both that enforcement of civil rights laws (like the

ADA
ORG

) by lawyers is important to a just society, and that people protected by civil rights laws rarely can afford to pay their attorneys.


AVID
PERSON

’s settlement states that

the Department of Corrections
ORG

. . .

will pay

Plaintiff
ORG

$

1,500,000.00
MONEY

(

one million
CARDINAL

,

five hundred thousand dollars
MONEY

, and

zero cents
MONEY

) for fees and costs incurred in pursuing the claims resolved through the Agreement. In addition, ” As compensation for monitoring progress towards substantial compliance with this Agreement, Defendants shall pay Plaintiff the sum of $

300,000.00
MONEY

(

three hundred thousand dollars and zero cents
MONEY

)

annually
DATE

while this Agreement remains in effect.” AVID settlement for transgender incarcerated people

The AVID acronym stands for

Amplifying Voices Of Incarcerated Individuals With Disabilities
WORK_OF_ART

. This is the

second
ORDINAL

time the program has used

Structured Negotiation
ORG

to improve conditions of incarceration for disabled people. In

2019
DATE

I wrote about another successful AVID Structured Negotiation – an advocacy initiative which won a $

10,000.00
MONEY

prize. See my

2019
DATE

article on this website titled

Structured Negotiation
ORG

Helps Washington Advocates Improve Jail Conditions.

More information about this case can be found here: