Deaf Criminal Offenders-Examining the Role of Deficient Socialization Due to Linguistic Developmental Delay

Document Type

Grant Proposal

Date Accepted

Summer 2007

Project Description/Abstract

The central research question of this study is to understand the relationship between the acquisition of language (either English or American Sign Language [ASL]) and the development of the trajectory of criminal behavior of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing offenders through their language and identity development. It is hypothesized that a delay in language development, due to early or congenital deafness, results in a deficiency in the normal childhood socialization process and that this deficiency plays a determining role in the development of criminal behavior of Deaf children and adults. The proposed methodology will consist of detailed personal interviews with subjects, identified by the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, who are either presently incarcerated or on probation or parole. Additionally, there will be a review of relevant case records; psychological reports, educational histories and criminal offense histories, to provide ancillary information.

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