April 2020 Newsletter

P&A Update

P&A is working to ensure that the rights of people with disabilities across South Carolina are not violated during the Covid-19 pandemic. Across the country we have seen examples of rights being taken away in areas such as employment, education, and health care. This is not acceptable. Please see our new Covid-19 resource page on our website and do not hesitate to call us if you have any questions concerning your rights during this crisis. Toll-free 1-866-275-7273 Email: info@pandasc.org

Lawsuit Seeks Immediate Release for Incarcerated People Most Vulnerable to COVID-19

Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc. (P&A) has joined a lawsuit challenging South Carolina’s failure to protect incarcerated people from risks associated with the COVID-19 virus. P&A is a plaintiff on behalf of incarcerated people with disabilities. The American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina and international law firm Arnold & Porter filed the federal lawsuit on Tuesday April 21, 2020. The suit seeks immediate relief for incarcerated people who are at particular risk of serious harm or death from COVID-19, including those who have serious underlying medical conditions, developmental disabilities or mental conditions or who are 50 years of age or older. Additionally, the suit seeks further reduction in the prison population through release of people who are within six months of their anticipated release date, eligible for parole and disciplinary free for the past year, or in custody for technical violations of parole or probation. P&A has joined the suit because we have a duty under federal and state law to protect people with disabilities. To read more go to the ACLU website.

Plan Ahead for the Next Election

There are multiple local elections across South Carolina currently scheduled for May and June. Plan ahead and get an absentee ballot if needed. Voters may request an absentee ballot in person, by phone, by mail, or by contacting your county voter registration office in the county in which you are registered. Go to: https://www.scvotes.org/absentee-voting for more information.

Commitment of Juveniles to Facilities during the COVID-19 Pandemic

On April 7, 2020, Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc. and several other organizations sent a letter to Governor McMaster and The Honorable Chief Justice Donald W. Beatty concerning the Commitment of Juveniles to Facilities during the COVID-19 Pandemic. We are concerned that juveniles committed to facilities face escalating health risks associated with residing in a congregate setting. We recommend that the same mandates that the Supreme Court has issued to adult correctional entities be issued to partners in the juvenile justice system. To date, the Court has directed courts to release adults who are charged with a non-capital crime and pose no undue risk to the community, to consider the need to minimize and reduce the detention center population, and to consider home detention and other options during this crisis. Now is the time to protect juveniles across the state from serious risk of infection with COVID-19. Click here to view the full letter.

Midlands Gives

We are excited to celebrate Midlands Gives on May 5, 2020. By giving during this online day of action you can help P&A qualify for one or more prizes, amplifying your gift. Donate directly to us at https://www.midlandsgives.org/pandasc on May 5th and help us protect people with disabilities across South Carolina.

Special Education Parent Survey

P&A and Family Connection of South Carolina would like to understand how the extended school closures have affected your family. All feedback is confidential and no identifying information will be shared. Take the short online survey today.

State Plan for Independent Living Public Comment

The South Carolina Statewide Independent Living Council (SCSILC) is pleased to present the draft copy of the goals from the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) 2020-2022. The SPIL is a three-year plan that informs the goals and objectives for how South Carolina will provide and improve independent living services for South Carolinians with disabilities. They will be accepting public comment until May 2, 2020. If you have any questions or need any accommodations to complete the survey, please contact the SCSILC by telephone at 800-994-4322 or by email at SCSILC@SCSILC.org.

Staff Spotlight

Maggie Knowles came to P&A in 2013 as the PAVA and Development Coordinator. She currently works part time on special projects which include organizing the annual gala, communications and marketing. When not working Maggie loves to read, crochet, and spend time with her kids.