What Constitutes Prisoner Abuse?

What Constitutes Prisoner Abuse?

Just because prisoners lose their freedom doesn’t mean they lose their basic human rights. Even while incarcerated, Americans are entitled to certain inalienable privileges, like emergency medical care and reasonably safe living accommodations.

When an inmate’s rights are violated, they usually have grounds for legal action. As long as they can prove they were abused and suffered damages as a result, they may seek compensation.

Prisoner abuse is characterized by assault against an individual while they’re being held in a jail or prison. Administrative staff, correctional officers, and other holding facility employees have an obligation to protect the health and safety of those who are under their supervision while being detained. In addition to treating these individuals with respect and catering to their basic needs, that means protecting them from other inmates.

Should jail or prison officials fail to take reasonable measures to keep those in their custody safe and healthy, the victims or their families can take action. Since filing a formal lawsuit comes with a host of challenges, however, it’s often a last resort.

Instead, those who have suffered prisoner abuse are usually encouraged to work with the facility’s administrators first and see if they can’t come to an agreement for remedying the situation. If the victim was attacked by other inmates, for example, it might be prudent to move him or her to a different cell with enhanced security. 

It’s not enough for officials to take steps that will prevent future altercations, though. They must also address any damages that the victim incurred as a result of the past abuse. Should they refuse to offer adequate compensation, pursuing litigation may be the best course of action.

Before you can file a civil suit, though, you’re going to have to determine who was ultimately liable for the abuse. Otherwise, you won’t have a defendant.

When it comes to prisoner abuse, individual correctional officers are rarely to blame. Since employers are responsible for the actions of their employees while on the clock, the facility as a whole is often found at fault.

If it happens to be a private prison, that means suing the parent company. If the prison is a government facility, on the other hand, you’re going to have to take action against the corresponding agency.

Since suing the government comes with a number of additional hurdles, it’s wise to seek legal counsel should this end up being the path you have to take. When it comes to tort claims, government entities have certain protections that private corporations do not, which can make it especially challenging to hold them accountable.

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If your rights or those of a loved one were violated by prison officials, turn to Brown Bass & Jeter, PLLC. Our team will correspond with the facility on your behalf to determine all possible avenues for achieving justice. Should they be unwilling to cooperate, we will explore the possibility of filing a formal lawsuit. Call 601-487-8448 or fill out our Online Contact Form to schedule a free case review with a civil rights lawyer in Jackson.

Katrina S. Brown

Katrina S. Brown


Katrina Brown is a highly sought-after trial attorney, known for her courageous spirit and genuine desire to seek justi[...]

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