Federal law requires the DOC to insure that individuals with disabilities are provided appropriate education and related services.
· Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires individuals with disabilities to be provided with an education which is comparable to that provided to non-handicapped individuals.
· Accommodations for access to and the receipt of instructional material must be considered (those eligible for consideration under this provision includes anyone who has, or has had a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, or is regarded as handicapped by others).
· The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA requires special consideration and educational accommodations for anyone under the age of 22 who qualifies by having a disability that falls into one of 13 broad categories. Such categories include visual, learning, or speech impairment, learning disabilities, traumatic brain injury, serious emotional disturbance, etc. Under the provision of IDEA, those who qualify require a written and specific Individual Educational Plan (IEP). This plan must be occasionally reviewed and re-evaluated.
For Adults in Custody under the age of 22 years old, the IDEA law requires DOC to establish a system that:
1. Identifies such disabilities within the inmate population.
2. Evaluates the extent of such disabilities (the barriers which the disabilities present).
3. Provides for appropriate services to overcome identified barriers and fulfill its duty to deliver educational material.
4. Develops procedural safeguards to ensure non-discrimination.