Jamesville Correctional Facility recently came under fire in a new lawsuit alleging a blind inmate was discriminated against.
A blind inmate serving a 12-weekend jail sentence at Jamesville Correctional Facility in Onondaga County recently filed a discrimination lawsuit against sheriff Eugene Conway and a custody deputy at Jamesville Correctional Facility. According to the lawsuit, the defendants are allegedly guilty of discriminating against the blind inmate, Tayon Wallace, by keeping him “held in the jail’s restricted special housing units rather than general population because he is blind.”
According to Wallace, inmates kept in the restricted housing units often have less recreation and outdoor time. They even allegedly have less access to the dining hall. The suit further states that “by holding Wallace in the special housing unit, which is typically for inmates with mental health conditions or behavioral issues, he is denied benefits provided to other prisoners. That violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
Wallace began his 12-weekend sentence back in July after he was convicted of stealing about $1,500 worth of goods from a Walmart store in Cicero. Shortly after checking in for his first-weekend stay on July 26, he was “taken to a cell in the restrictive housing unit.” While there, he “could not hear other prisoners and received just one hour of outdoor recreation each day at the jail.”
When he returned the following weekend, Wallace asked to be housed in general population, but was told “the jail houses inmates with serious medical conditions in the restrictive housing units.” As a result, he was left to spend his days mostly in solitude. According to the suit, he “was allowed to leave his cell and sit in a common area with a television and phone, though he was given just one hour of outdoor recreation and ate his meals alone in his cell.”
When he arrived for check-in the third weekend, he again asked to be placed in general population, “and refused to be put in the restricted housing unit.” As a result, he was “handcuffed, taken to the restricted housing unit and written up for not willingly going to the unit,” the lawsuit said.
When commenting on the case, lawyers representing Wallace from Legal Services of Central New York said they had a letter emailed to “chief custody deputy William Bleyle requesting that Wallace be put in general population.” The suit claims that Bleyle responded by saying he “would have someone look into the issue.” However, Wallace’s legal team was later notified that he would not be moved during his weekend stays. As a result of the jail’s lack of cooperation, the suit alleges it “has not tried to make reasonable accommodations for Wallace, who they say is entitled to them by federal law.”
It is important to note that when Wallace is not serving out his sentence on the weekends, he spends his life living an “independent and self-sufficient life” independently.