Deaf Returnees: Helping Them Through PTSD

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The adage that there is no perfect machine holds true from a Jack-in-the-Box to the criminal justice system. What can Deaf inmates and returnees broken by this system hope to achieve during June, which is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) awareness month?

Especially when this awareness reach extends deeply into the Deaf community to places needing empowerment, healing, and positive steps? What resolution can empower Deaf returnees to build learning, healthy and safe spaces?

Imagine the stories of Deaf inmates and Deaf returnees, their hearts shattering under the fiber of social rejection. Even while they are making a positive change to share their experiences to overcome the depression, they experience bullying, humiliation, and surmounting hardships; the toughest thing.

I believe that there are high and unreported PTSD cases by Deaf inmates and Deaf returnees that the social media needs to acknowledge. The sweeping impact of ignoring Deaf simply for who they are, and the lack of awareness, is not felt enough in the criminal justice system. Just like the marginalization of Deaf returnees in Deaf community, why are they being singled out?

While the United States has put more people in prison than any other country, it does not have resources to help Deaf returnees rebuild their lives once they are released. While there is a growing need, there is also a forgotten movement to end mass incarceration to reduce recidivism. Deaf returnees need inspiration and guidance.

Deaf returnees who are in search of rebuilding lives are at once faced with overcoming steep economic hardship, systematic privileges, unemployment, and lastly, PTSD. Changing the pattern across the country would help Deaf returnees successfully transition from inmate to returnee life on the outside.

The Second Chance Act of 2007, which is having a difficult time getting funding, would most likely hurt Deaf returnees in the long run. Why? So, Deaf returnees would be able to get help and learn how to develop healthy thinking patterns.

One bit of critical information here. Not empowering Deaf returnees enough can become frightfully expensive and mentally taxing. Empowering Deaf returnees would require intimate examination of the territory of their lives and not just a perception of its surface, incorporating new knowledge into other knowledge;

Empowering is a good investment, and the supporters’ efforts pay off. Empowering would gain intellectual and emotional agility and strength so needed in society.

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.

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ASL National Anthem Signer

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Back in September 2014, I was invited to give a National Anthem in ASL for D.C. United, a pro soccer team in the honour of International Week of the Deaf where they selected HEARD [Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf] where I was a community liaison, lecturer and organizer–by volunteering hundreds and hundreds of hours to make phone calls, catch phone calls from Deaf returned citizens, Deaf prisoners, family members, writing letters, filling out log sheets, lectures, presentations, workshops, and the list goes–mentally, physically, and emotionally seven days a week with NO PAY.

I have had been doing this for two years and half. There were many times that I would be so broke that I would have two dollars left and would find a way to attend a workshop on my Metro card because I believed in making a difference and give Deaf returning/returned citizens hope. There were maybe two or three times that I would walk back home all the way on my feet. I put a lot of heart in this organization even if it was hearing-run business. That is where I saw something different after that.

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-JT

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.