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

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:

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