Disability Access Methodology
Assessing Services for People with Disabilities
This data was collected through the Justice Index Questionnaire in 2015 and NCAJ’s quality assurance review process. (See “Overall Methodology”).
Sources of Authority Prompting Research
Research to determine indicators and best practices for people with disabilities was prompted by consideration of the following sources:
- National Association of the Deaf, Communication Access in State and Local Courts (2008)
- Debbie Howells et al., Court Web Site Disability Access (National Center for State Courts 2008)
- Dave Yanchulis, Achieving Accessible Courthouses, Building Safety Journal (2007)
- U.S. Access Board, Justice for All: Designing Accessible Courthouses (2006)
- Mark Van Bever, Implementing the Americans With Disabilities Act in a Trial Court (National Center for State Courts 2002)
- Western Law Center for Disability Rights et al., Access to the Courts: A Guide to Reasonable Accommodations for People With Disabilities (2d ed. 2003).
- Jo Williams, Communication Accessibility in the Courts (National Center for State Courts 2002)
- The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, www.bazelon.org
Findings Incorporated from Other Sources
For the following indicators, NCAJ drew its data from other sources and did not make findings based on original research or correspondence with the state courts:
For two of the indicators in the Disability Access Index, #12 and #13 (regarding right to counsel laws in involuntary commitment and guardianship cases), NCAJ incorporated the findings made by the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel (“NCCRC”), which are maintained on the NCCRC’s Status Map. NCAJ only credited a state with a “Yes” finding if the NCCRC’s Status Map identified that state as having a “Categorical Right to Counsel.”
The NCCRC Status Map does not include Puerto Rico. For Puerto Rico, NCAJ conducted original research in consultation with Puerto Rico court officials and the NCCRC staff.
Further Information on Selected Indicators
We have identified certain indicators that we believe would benefit from further information as to the question asked and/or standard applied. Because this information is too lengthy to include with the indicators on the Findings pages, we compiled it into one document, which you can access here (Annotated Indicator Guide). The Disability Access Index indicators included in the document are the ones listed above (Q.12 and Q.13), plus:
- 2. REQUIRE APPOINTED SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETERS BE CERTIFIED. Require courts to use only certified sign language interpreters?
- 4. EXPLAIN ON WEBSITE HOW TO REQUEST ACCOMMODATION. Explain on the state judiciary website how to request an accommodation because of a disability?
- 5. NAME ON WEBSITE THE CONTACT FOR ACCOMMODATIONS. Provide on the state judiciary website the name and mailing or email address of a person to contact to request an accommodation?
- 6. EXPLAIN ON WEBSITE HOW TO FILE DISABILITY ACCESS COMPLAINT. Explain on the state judiciary website how to file a complaint about difficulty due to a disability in accessing: a) court facilities, or b) court services?
- 7. NAME ON WEBSITE THE CONTACT FOR DISABILITY ACCESS COMPLAINTS. Provide on the state judiciary website the name and mailing or email address of a person to contact to file a complaint?
- 8. REQUIRE ACCESS FOR SERVICE ANIMALS. Require courts to allow service animals?
- 11. PROVIDE FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL AS ACCOMMODATION. Identify the provision of counsel at public expense to litigants with disabilities as a form of reasonable accommodation?