2023 Talk About Sexual Violence Final Report: Transforming Health Care to Address Sexual Violence of People With IDD

In this video, Leigh Anne McKingsley, Senior Director of The Arc’s National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability, and Kecia Weller, Survivor Self-Advocate and Project Advisor, provide an overview of the key findings and recommendations of the Talk About Sexual Violence project over the past seven years.

Exploring Locative Technology: What You Need to Know to Address Wandering

During this webinar, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) discusses the pros and cons of using tracking devices in wandering situations, emphasizing some effective alternatives.

The speakers are two parents and police officers, Laurie Reyes and Stefan Bjes, and Board Member, poet, and self-advocate Russell Lehmann.

Williams v. Carvajal

Filed: June 21, 2022

Court: Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals

Overview: This amicus brief explains why requiring prisoners with disabilities to go through additional administrative burdens to file grievances when in prison violates the ADA and Section 504.

Excerpt: The purpose of the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA in this context is to ensure that individuals with disabilities are not required to navigate draconian systems just to access the same program as similarly situated people without a disability, based solely on their disability status. The decision of the district court represents a classic example of a person with a disability being forced to jump through more hoops than is required of their non-disabled brethren…Only prisoners with disabilities are required to “exhaust” the additional procedure; prisoners without disabilities are not. Rather than ensuring that the barriers faced are no greater for a person with a disability, the decision of the Court below ignores the purpose behind the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA by erecting additional barriers for individuals with disabilities. While complying with complex administrative grievance processes can be challenging for anyone, prisoners with disabilities face unique challenges. Failing to provide reasonable accommodations to those prisoners only exacerbates those challenges. Singling out this exact population for additional complex grievance requirements will undermine the enforcement of disability law in prisons without any countervailing benefit in screening out meritorious claims.

Case Documents

Amicus Brief

Education for Students With Disabilities in the Juvenile Justice System

Students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) do not lose their right to public education, including all rights to special education, when they are adjudicated delinquent. Once in the juvenile justice system, young people with IDD may be placed in a variety of settings, ranging from home confinement to foster homes to group residential settings and so on, all the way down the continuum to secure detention and solitary confinement. Wherever they are, they have the same rights to access the coursework the state requires for all students, as well as the services and supports provided by their IEP and/or Section 504 plan. In a secure setting, the way in which some services are provided may be altered, but the services cannot be denied.

Speaker Bio: A litigator with more than 26 years of experience in juvenile and education law, Diane Smith Howard’s work at NDRN focuses on conditions for children, youth and adults with disabilities in institutional systems. Specifically, youth in the juvenile justice, child welfare, education, and refugee resettlement systems, and adults with disabilities in the criminal justice and mental health systems.

Diane holds a B.A. with honors from Colby College, Waterville, ME, and a J. D. from Wayne State University Law School, Detroit, MI. Diane’s passion for this work is rooted in a family connection to foster and adopted children with disabilities, and to adults who are at risk of institutionalization due to a lack of community supports.

Download the presentation here.

For further questions, please email school@thearc.org.

Victimization and People With Disabilities: It’s Real TALKS Train-the-Trainer Discussion Guide

People with disabilities are more likely than people without disabilities to be victims of mistreatment, abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The Victimization and People with Disabilities: It’s Real TALKS Train-The-Trainer Discussion Guide is for organizations to learn about victims with developmental and other disabilities who have experienced crimes of sexual assault, trafficking, financial exploitation, and Medicaid fraud; and solutions from professionals to help support survivors and to reduce victimization of people with disabilities.

Collaborate, Train & Engage: Diverting People With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Hosted by The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center and Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)

While local providers across the country are increasing their awareness of people with intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD) in their criminal justice systems, they may encounter challenges when seeking appropriate diversion programming for this population. This webinar will discuss best practices that localities can implement to improve cross-system collaboration, family engagement, identification, and accessibility of services that meet the needs of people with IDD. Speakers will also describe how consistent evaluation of diversion outcomes assists with sustaining successful efforts and the creation of action plans to address gaps. Participants will hear from an author and person diagnosed with autism about his experience with the criminal justice system and how diversion could have been beneficial in his case.


Leigh Ann Davis, Director of Criminal Justice Initiatives, The Arc
Nick Dubin, Author/person with lived experience
Maria Fryer, Justice Systems and Mental Health Policy Advisor, Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice
Reginald “Reggie” Thomas, Criminal Justice & Disability Fellow, The Arc
Felicia Lopez Wright, Policy Analyst, Behavioral Health Division, the CSG Justice Center

Town Hall: The Arc’s Response to COVID-19 and Plans for the Future

We are in the midst of a global health pandemic that is wreaking havoc on all of our lives and has been particularly devastating for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families. While we battle COVID-19, we must also plan for the future and the challenges ahead. In the wake of this health emergency and economic crisis, we need to organize and advocate more than ever before. The human rights of people with IDD and the supports and services they need to both live in and be valued members of their communities are at stake.

This Town Hall delves into The Arc’s response to the pandemic, the progress we’ve made, and the threats that remain. We also unveiled the new Strategic Framework for the Future of The Arc¸ a dynamic plan to build a more powerful, nationwide disability community movement.

View Town Hall Presentation Slides here.

View a transcript of the discussion here. 

Jenkins v. Alabama

State: Alabama

Filed: September 27, 2019

Court: Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals

Overview: The brief argued that Marc Jenkins, an individual with evidence indicating possible intellectual disability on death row in Alabama, should have the opportunity to present full evidence to prove his intellectual disability claim in an Atkins hearing.

Excerpt: “A death row inmate who claims that he has intellectual disability and therefore is exempt from execution under the Eighth Amendment, pursuant to the Supreme Court’s decision in Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002), should have the opportunity to develop an appropriate record in support of that claim when there is evidence of impairment that could be attributable to intellectual disability. That common-sense rule is grounded in principles of due process and fundamental fairness, taking into account the way Atkins fundamentally changed the legal context of intellectual disability evidence in capital cases. It also is grounded in clinical standards regarding the diagnosis of intellectual disability, which emphasize the importance of thorough evidence-gathering and clinical judgment.”

Case Documents

Amicus Brief: Jenkins v. Alabama

Public Charge Amicus Briefs

States: California, Washington, New York, Illinois

Filed: 2019

Courts: Northern District of California, Southern District of New York, Eastern District of Washington, Northern District of Illinois

Overview: A coalition of national disability advocacy groups filed four amicus briefs in support of litigation to stop the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from implementing its new “public charge” rule. Twenty-one states–led by California, Washington, and New York–as well as Cook County, Illinois, have filed cases against the Trump Administration to block the new rule. The advocacy groups – representing tens of thousands of people with disabilities and their families across the country – claim that the new public charge rule will prevent people with disabilities from entering this country or becoming legal residents in violation of federal disability law.

Case Documents

California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (District Court)
New York v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (District Court) 
Washington v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (District Court)
Cook County, Illinois v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (District Court)
California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Ninth Circuit)
New York v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Second Circuit)
Washington v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Ninth Circuit)
Cook County, Illinois v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Seventh Circuit)


California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Cook County, IL v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security

New York v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Washington v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Related Media

Press Release: The Arc Applauds Federal Injunctions Against Public Charge Rule

Press Release: Disability Advocacy Groups File Amicus Brief Opposing the Administration’s Public Charge Rule as Illegal Disability Discrimination

Press Release: Supreme Court Lifts Stay on Public Charge Rule: Implementation Will Have Chilling Impact on People with Disabilities

The Hill: Disability rights groups join challenge to ‘public charge’ rule

Undisclosed Podcast: State v. Rocky Myers – Episode 4: Of Mice and Men

Through a review of Rocky Myers’ case in Alabama and a discussion with The Arc’s legal director, this episode explores the Supreme Court’s opinion in Atkins and later decisions holding that executing people with intellectual disability violates the constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.