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What Is Inmate Abuse?

What Is Inmate Abuse?

Prison guards and other officials who work in prisons, as well as police officers arresting individuals, are responsible for the safety and health of all inmates. Specifically, these authority figures ensure inmates are well taken care of and their basic needs met. However, sometimes, correctional officer abuse of power results in inmate abuse. 

Police officers, prison authorities, and prison guards have power and control over inmates. As a result, neglected or abused jailed people are reluctant about asking for help. A person in custody still has their constitutional rights. These rights are not left at the prison gates. Many of these legal rights actually remain in effect at all times.

When an inmate is injured or suffers mental distress as a result of a prison official’s negligence, he or she has the right to bring a claim or lawsuit against the government. You need the experience and guidance of a police misconduct attorney Chicago. The legal team at Curcio Law Office is ready to help you pursue your local or federal claim against the government.

Abuse in Prisons

There are two sorts of people committing acts of neglect or abuse in jail. Jail officials and guards abuse or neglect detainees or the convicts themselves instigate violent situations that harm others. The responsibility of taking reasonable precautions in preventing inmate violence lies with prison administrators.

Violent assault occurs when a prisoner is unnecessarily beaten, kicked, or hit. This is correctional officials’ most common form of abuse against inmates. 

When prison officials act in an abusive or neglecting way or don’t take the required precautions in preventing violence, accountability for negligence lies with the institution. If you or someone you care about are a victim of jail neglect or abuse, our experienced jail abuse lawyers help you file a lawsuit.

Inmate Abuse By Correctional Officers

Jail officials’ tactics frequently cause more harm than good to the prison population at large, because they’re not trained mental health professionals. Incarcerated people often experience psychological, physical, and sexual abuse, degradation, neglect, and even death from prison guards.

While some of the violent acts and behaviors directed at inmates are deliberate and premeditated, others are excessively negligent and done with reckless disregard. Frequently, punishment is not handed to prison guards for misdeeds, such as physically or sexually assaulting a prisoner.

However, all people, even the incarcerated, are protected by the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This amendment protects against searches and seizures that are unreasonable. A prisoner’s Eighth Amendment rights are violated if he or she is subjected to terrible living conditions, or if prison officials behave in an unreasonable manner or use an unreasonable amount of force. 

Correctional Officer Misconduct Examples

  • Use an unreasonable level of force that includes punching, assaulting, or kicking an inmate.
  • Deprive the detainees of food or sleep, causing them mental and emotional pain.
  • Use racial slurs or other harsh language towards an inmate, which could result in mental injury or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
  • Make unwarranted threats to the inmate or use other forms of verbal abuse against them.
  • Physical restrictions, such as a pair of handcuffs, used when not necessary given the circumstances.
  • When a jail official places an inmate in a solitary confinement cell out of malice, such punishment is not justified under the circumstances.
  • When using a dangerous substance, like pepper spray, against an inmate isn’t necessary to get the inmate under control.

Guards, correctional officers, and other prison officials aren’t the only ones causing abuse or neglect of inmates. Other inmates, often using physical violence, also abuse other inmates. 

When other inmates cause abuse or neglect, prison officials often have some liability because it’s the responsibility of prison guards and other officials to prevent inmate violence. 

Inmates suffering from correctional officer abuse of power or receiving injuries and other damages from another inmate may file a claim or lawsuit for compensation.

Prisoner’s Rights

Extreme cruelty and mistreatment of prisoners are frequently shown in films, as though these behaviors are acceptable. In reality, however, this is not the case. Even while incarcerated, you have a number of rights known as prisoner’s rights.

The right to communicate, the right to read basic materials, the right to medical care, the right to enough food and water, the right to practice their religion, and the right to sue prison officials or the government for mistreatment are just a few of the rights that prisoners have. If any of these rights are being violated, contact a jail abuse lawyer and take action to protect them.

Solitary Confinement

Solitary confinement continues to afflict our nation’s prisons and jails, despite evidence of its impact stretching back more than 200 years to its inaugural use at Philadelphia’s Eastern Penitentiary. Today, solitary confinement is largely unregulated, with little federal oversight and no centralized method for tracking outcomes.

In addition, those placed in solitary confinement are frequently kept from utilizing job training opportunities, education, or rehabilitative therapies that are more effective than sitting alone in a tiny cell. 

Why Do Prisoners Get Put In Solitary Confinement?

Prison authorities use solitary confinement for a variety of reasons, ranging from small violations like back talking to a guard to more serious offenses such as fighting with other inmates or threatening self-harm. They can even be placed in isolation for no apparent reason, with guards and prison officials making the final choice.

Solitary Confinement Cell

Cells are usually 60 to 80 square feet in size and lit by fluorescent light up to 24 hours a day, with little or no outside light. Individuals only leave their cells for an hour a day, or once a week for five hours in some places, leaving them alone for days on end.

Solitary Confinement Effects

The consequences of solitary confinement are amplified for two particularly susceptible groups: minors, whose brains are still developing, and those with mental health disorders, who account for almost one-third of all prisoners held in isolation.

Solitary confinement, even in otherwise healthy people, can cause serious psychological harm, including:

  • Hallucinations – visual and auditory   
  • Paranoia and insomnia
  • Noise and physical touch hypersensitivity
  • Lack of emotional regulation – particularly over rage and fear
  • Increased suicide risk
  • Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder

If a person isn’t mentally ill when they enter an isolation unit, their mental health deteriorates significantly by their release.

What To Do If An Inmate Is Being Mistreated?

There are several ways to report inmate abuse.

File a Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) Complaint

CRIPA establishes a “fast track” for inmates registering allegations of abuse and violations of their rights to the Department of Justice (DOJ). Federal prosecutors then order an investigation by a federal investigative agency such as the FBI into the accusations.

File a Federal Civil Rights Suit

Inmates can sue for violations of their constitutional rights:

  • The Fourth Amendment. Any searches that are excessively intrusive or use undue force are a violation of that inmate’s rights. In prison, however, there is little to no reasonable expectation of privacy.
  • The Eighth Amendment. While detained, the constitution prohibits “cruel and unusual punishment,” which often requires demonstrating that officials acted with “deliberate disregard.”
  • The 14th Amendment. Even while confined, racial slurs and racial discrimination (by prison staff) are illegal.

A court mandates prison or jail reform in this type of case. An inmate can receive monetary compensation for alleged rights abuses. An inmate must exhaust their other options within the jail or prison, or the suit can be blocked.

Seek Guidance From a Civil Rights Attorney

An expert civil rights attorney provides a clear idea of how to stop correctional officer abuse.

Talk to a Prison Inmate Abuse Lawyer Today

Inmates know police misconduct is illegal, but many accept abuse as a normal part of prison life. In these cases, however, inmates have power. Filing personal injury lawsuits, recovering compensation for injuries, and punishing misbehaving guards are available avenues.

Bringing a claim for inmate abuse is difficult. The advocacy and support of an experienced jail abuse lawyer is vital. Curcio Law Firm’s skilled Chicago personal injury attorneys are ready to assist you in filing a claim against the government for correctional officer abuse of power. Call 312-321-1111 or contact us online today to book a free consultation and case evaluation.

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