The Abuse of Inmates by Prison Guards in Correctional Facilities and Inmate Injury Lawsuits
A person who is taken into police custody or put into jail or prison is stripped of so much, but they are still entitled to many of their civil rights while in custody or incarcerated. The prison, whether private or publicly run by the government, is responsible for the safety and health of all prisoners who come through their doors.
If an inmate is injured while in the custody of a correctional facility as a result of the neglect or outright abuse of the staff or other prisoners, the prisoner or their family (in the case of a wrongful death claim) may benefit from hiring a lawyer to sue the jail or prison as a means of seeking the compensation deserved for being subjected to brutality or mistreatment.
Suing a prison or correctional facility may seem out of reach, but if you or a loved one suffered neglect, medical mistreatment, or physical or sexual abuse while incarcerated, a personal injury lawyer can help you to better understand your rights and options for recourse. Contact a personal injury lawyer for prisoners at Parker Waichman today to discuss the details of your inmate lawsuit and whether or not you may be entitled to compensation.
Prison Inmate Lawsuits
When inmates are physically abused by an officer, there is the potential that they will be left with severe injuries that required hospitalization. Neglect is also a form of abuse characterized by the denial of basic necessities. In any variety of prisoner abuse or inmate neglect cases, those suffering the abuse are often prevented from speaking out or punished for making an attempt to do so. In those cases, it is beneficial to hire personal injury and neglect lawsuit lawyers for inmates in order to help bring attention to the abuse they and others have experienced in prison.
In cases of severe abuse against multiple prisoners, an inmate class action lawsuit may be filed against the correctional facility or the governing body, in cases involving public prisons. A prison abuse attorney can help handle an inmate lawsuit and ensure that the prisoner is awarded the compensation deserved.
Lawsuits Against the Department of Corrections in the State of Florida
Florida is home to some of the biggest prisons in the United States and has already dealt with a lawsuit against the Florida Department of Corrections for various instances of neglect, abuse, withholding inmates’ personal items, and noncompliance with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). Prison abuse lawyers have been fielding Florida prison civil rights lawsuits for years with allegations of physical and sexual abuse, together with severe neglect by the staff.
Lawsuits against Florida state prisons have been increasingly common over the years. Families of inmates who have wrongfully died due to medical neglect as well as prisoners who have experienced years of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of guards have been stepping forward to work with prison injury lawyers to file a Florida Department of Corrections lawsuit if they are severely injured while incarcerated.
Dedicated prisoners’ rights lawyers can help both inmates and the families of those who have died in incarceration secure the compensation they rightfully deserve after enduring civil rights violations at the hands of guards and staff who are supposed to help.
Lowell Prison Investigation in Florida
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has opened an investigation of Lowell prison, the second-largest women’s correctional facility in the United States. Over the last decade, women at the Lowell Correctional Institute in Ocala, Florida have been complaining of neglect and abuse at the hands of the facility’s prison guards, complaining that the officers have groped, raped, sodomized, and threatened to beat and even kill them if they didn’t comply with the officers’ demands, especially sexual demands. If the female inmates reported their abuse they were subjected to retaliation, such as being thrown into solitary confinement or they would lose visiting privileges.
However, despite overwhelming evidence, the DOJ has yet to hold anybody criminally liable for these abuses because Lowell prison is so corrupt that every staff member was in on the abuse. These abuses cannot be forgotten or ignored and any prisoner subjected to such abuses has the right to hire lawyers to personally file lawsuits against the prison for its negligence and years-long list of civil rights violations. A jail abuse lawyer can step up where others have failed; helping those who have been incarcerated to get the help and compensation they deserve after having been abused by prison guards, officers, and others in positions of power.
High Court Vacates Immunity In Prison Guard Mace Case
Taylor v. Riojas
February 23, 2021 – A news report posted on Law360.com reports that the U.S. Supreme Court vacated a Fifth Circuit ruling that gave immunity to a Texas correctional officer who purportedly pepper-sprayed an inmate in the face back. The U.S. Supreme Court ruling cited a November decision that ruled correctional officers liable for obvious and egregious behavior.
Granting certiorari, an order in which a higher court reviews a lower court’s decision, to Prince McCoy Sr., the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the Fifth Circuit to reconsider its decision awarding qualified immunity to Tajudeen Alamu, a Darrington Unit Officer. The U.S. Supreme Court Justices directed the lower fifth circuit court to reconsider its ruling “in light of” Taylor v. Riojas, which was a rare qualified immunity reversal.
In Taylor v. Riojas, the Supreme Court ruled that a group of psychiatric inmate officers working at the Montford Psychiatric Unit located in Lubbock, Texas, are not immune from prosecution after they kept inmate Trent Taylor in a cell covered in human excrement back in 2013. The U.S. Supreme Court Justices found that the psychiatric inmate officers’ purported actions were clearly unconstitutional, and the courts don’t need a case with similar facts to proceed.
For McCoy’s advocates and lawyers, Monday’s vacatur confirms that the precedent enforced in Taylor is having a more widespread influence on how the U.S. Supreme Court implements its principle of qualified immunity, which restricts civil rights lawsuits against government officials.
Hudson v. McMillian
In Hudson v. McMillian, two correctional officers allegedly beat a Louisiana inmate. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the 1992 case and established a five-part test to ascertain when the use of force becomes cruel and unusual punishment should the victim not be seriously injured.
McCoy subsequently retained nonprofit legal representation to draft his July certiorari petition.
In his petition, McCoy concentrated on the dissenting opinion of Fifth Circuit Judge Gregg Costa’s in which Judge Costa argued that his colleagues placed too much weight on the shortage of case law concerning the allegations of the pepper spray attack. Had McCoy been struck in the face or tasered, without cause, rather than being sprayed in the face with mace, without justification, the on-point circuit precedent would have clearly established the constitutional violation.
McCoy’s argument, in his certiorari petition, asserted that as Judge Costa explained in his dissent, a different explanation for the panel majority’s break from the court’s precedent is that Alamu’s unwarranted assault simply used the wrong weapon.
This is misguided reasoning that creates a circuit split, McCoy continued, as “there is no requirement that a constitutional violation is weapon-specific” and “defining Eighth Amendment violations weapon-by-weapon and granting qualified immunity to defendants using novel weaponry would also break from the other circuits that have considered the question.”
In December, the Texas Attorney General’s Office dismissed McCoy’s certiorari petition as an “unadorned request for fact-bound error correction,” stating that the lower court had correctly applied the Hudson factors.
However, the U.S. Supreme Court did not discuss Hudson on Monday but instead focused on the precedent concerning the use of egregious unconstitutional force in Taylor.
Praising the Supreme Court’s ruling on Monday, Sam Weiss, co-counsel for McCoy and member of Rights Behind Bars, stated the ruling “demonstrates that Taylor wasn’t a one-off” and that the Supreme Court’s precise citation of Taylor “is giving a strong nudge as to what the Fifth Circuit should do in this case.” Mr. Weiss also stated that it was an abominable situation for Mr. McCoy to go through and for no reason, and he has had to “fight, fight, fight for justice.”
A Texas Attorney General’s Office representative did not promptly reply to a request for comment.
Mr. McCoy’s legal counsel consisted of Attorney Samuel Weiss with the Rights Behind Bars and Attorney Daniel Greenfield with the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center at the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law.
Tajudeen is represented by Attorney Judd E. Stone II with the Office of the Texas Attorney General.
The case is McCoy, Prince v. Alamu, Tajudeen, case number 20-31, in the Supreme Court of the United States.
Frequently Asked Questions
How are Prisoners’ Rights Violated?
Everybody, free or incarcerated, is entitled to certain civil rights. However, in prisons, there are many forms of civil rights abuses that can occur such as:
- Keeping prisoners in unsanitary and unsafe conditions
- Sexual harassment and assault
- Preventing prisoners from complaining about prison conditions to outside parties
- Punishing prisoners if they complain about prison conditions
- Torturing a prisoner or otherwise subjecting them to forms of cruel and unusual punishment
- Denying medical attention to prisoners or providing inadequate medical care
What Rights Do You Have While in Jail?
Inmates rights include the following:
- Humane facilities and conditions
- Freedom from sexual crimes
- Freedom from racial segregation
- The ability to complain about their conditions
- The ability to assert their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act
- Adequate medical care and attention
- Appropriate mental health care
- The opportunity for a hearing if they are supposed to be moved to a mental health facility
If any of these rights of an incarcerated person are violated, the prisoner may have cause to file a lawsuit against the prison in which it occurred. Specific prison employees, including prison guards and other staff, may also be held liable.
Can You Sue a Jail for Mistreatment?
Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act makes it legal for inmates to sue for any harm incurred while in state prisons or local jails, depending on if the prisoner’s constitutional rights were violated. However, that does not apply to private prisons. If an inmate wants to sue a private prison, they need to file standard tort lawsuits based on negligence or intentional torts.
Can You Sue if You Get Hurt in Jail?
Per the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), federal prison inmates can sue a jail and the government for personal injuries they received from other inmates. Several state governments have adopted some sort of variation of the FTCA that allows state prisoners to sue for personal injuries as well.
Can You Sue a Jail for Negligence?
You can sue a jail or prison if you were injured due to the negligence of the prison staff. If you suffered an injury due to the negligent actions or inactions of correctional facility guards or other staff while incarcerated, you can contact a jail neglect attorney to discuss the details of your case.
Can I Sue the Jail for Medical Negligence?
You can sue jails and prisons for failure to provide adequate medical care because it is a violation of a prisoner’s civil rights to deny them necessary care.
Can You Sue if Someone Dies in Jail?
If an incarcerated family member or loved one has died while in jail and you suspect that negligence, abuse, or intentional violence may be the cause, you can contact a prison abuse lawyer to file a claim against the prison and the government for negligence, wrongful death, and potential civil rights violations.
Contact a Dedicated Attorney for Your Inmate Abuse Lawsuit
When you’re looking for a civil rights attorney for inmates after you or a loved one was abused, neglected, or injured by a prison guard while in custody, you may be entitled to compensation. An attorney from Parker Waichman is available for a free consultation to discuss jail medical neglect, sexual and physical abuse, or being otherwise injured while in jail. Our law firm has years of experience with negligence and abuse cases of all types so you know that your lawsuit is in good hands.
Contact us now for a free legal consultation to discuss your potential inmate lawsuit against the prison system by filling out our online contact form or call us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
New York | Brooklyn | Queens | Long Island | New Jersey | Florida
Call us at: 1-800-YOURLAWYER (800-968-7529) | Schedule your free consultation