Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf (H.E.A.R.D) and Deaf In Prison (Deaf in Prison) are both groups that are working tirelessly to release Felix Garcia from prison. As today is the first day of the campaign, #DeafInPrison by HEARD, Felix appears in the video talking about his experience in the showers. 

He had been brutally raped and people watched as he walked out of the showers. Face all purple on one side from being knocked unconscious. He laid in bed for three, maybe four days before he mustered the courage to get out of bed. Pat Bliss, a woman who had been given Felix’s case by another person, was told that this was a charity case. The way this case stuck to her, she decided he would be her surrogate son and she would stand by him through everything. This is something that Felix has shared in the video, “If it weren’t for her, I would be dead.”

This powerful campaign that HEARD has initiated today, is only available for 48 hours. It hopes to showcase the fact that for Deaf individuals, a lot of issues are confusing and unclear. They get frustrated and disorientated when things are not communicated clearly to them. This happens everyday for a lot of people but what of these people that are serving long sentences in prison? Yes, based on experiences expressed by such prisoners, they face a harsher reality than the general population.

For those that wonder why Felix Garcia isn’t out of prison yet, there is a blog post that was written yesterday by Pat Bliss highlighting what happened during this case and why he’s still in prison. She also emphasized that attention in media is one of the most critical things that people need to be doing to help him get out.

While Felix Garcia isn’t the only target focus of this campaign, he is a famous example of a prisoner that has been wronged by the criminal justice system. His case is extremely baffling to many people and is a very sad example of how accommodations are not utilized in important cases especially ones that can change a person’s life.

Supporting this campaign is a critical process for the community, as the campaign tries to raise awareness of lack of accessibility and wrongful conduct on the behalf of the criminal justice system. It can happen to anyone, especially when people do not have access to basic needs in communicating to the prison staff, and the community has a stigma against them.

Written by: Mary Pat Withem
Follow Her On Twitter: @mpwithem