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DOJ and New York Reach Agreement to Ensure Yiddish, Spanish Language Access in Rockland County Drug Treatment Court

The US Department of Justice and the New York State Unified Court System have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to ensure that the Rockland County Drug Treatment Court complies with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The agreement resolves a review initiated in January 2023, following a complaint that individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP) were unable to fully participate in the court due to a lack of translation and interpretation services.

The MOU requires the Office of Court Administration (OCA) to take several steps to provide meaningful access for LEP individuals, including:

– Translating all documents into Spanish, Creole, Yiddish, and other languages upon request

– Publicizing the Drug Treatment Court program in these additional languages

– Securing treatment providers that offer court-mandated drug treatment programs in a manner that provides meaningful access to people with LEP, at no cost to participants

The agreement is a result of collaborative efforts between the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, OCA, and the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office. The parties worked together to identify necessary reforms and ensure that all LEP individuals qualified to participate in the Drug Treatment Court have equal access.

This agreement marks an important step towards ensuring that language barriers do not hinder access to justice. By providing meaningful language access, the Rockland County Drug Treatment Court can better serve its diverse community and promote equal opportunities for all.

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