Jackson v. Florida Department of Corrections, et al.
Richard Jackson has paraparesis—partial paralysis of the lower limbs. He acquired this disability more than 25 years ago. Because of his disability, he cannot walk on his own and must use a wheelchair for mobility. Prison officials generally permit Jackson to use a wheelchair both inside his cell and to move about the prison. However, prison officials at Santa Rosa Correctional Institution (“Santa Rosa CI”) refused to allow Jackson to have and use a wheelchair inside his cell. As a result, to navigate within the cell—between his bed, toilet, cell door food hatch, and wash basin—and to enter and exit the cell, Jackson had to crawl using his hands and arms, dragging his body on the filthy prison floor. He suffered physical injuries and the humiliation of having to endure inhumane and undignified treatment at the hand of Santa Rosa CI prison officials. When he sought relief from this Court by filing a lawsuit in 2013, the FDOC transferred him to another prison where he was retaliated against for seeking redress from the Court.
Jackson sued the Florida Department of Corrections and several officials at Santa Rosa CI. He asserted that this treatment violated the protection against cruel and unusual punishment found in the Eight Amendment of the U.S. Constitution as well as the Americans with Disability Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
On April 9, 2015, the Florida Department of Corrections agreed to “permit Jackson to use [a] wheelchair both inside and outside his cell or housing unit” and to pay Jackson roughly $97,000 in damages and attorney fees to settle the matter.