Inmate Abuse: Overview

Modified on 2009/10/14 21:37 by admin
The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution states that "excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." These protections extend even to those who have been legitimately prosecuted and convicted.

While prisoners lose many rights upon incarceration, they do retain a number of important rights. For instance, if prison officials discipline a prisoner in a way that places "atypical and significant hardships" on that particular prisoner, the prisoner may challenge such discipline as a violation of his or her right to due process.

Prisoners are entitled to adequate medical care. "Deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners constitutes the 'unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain' proscribed by the Eighth Amendment." Serious medical conditions are those that "cause pain, discomfort, or threaten good health." Prisoners also have the right to adequate mental health care.

Prison officials have a duty to protect prisoners from assault by inmates and prison personnel. In this context, prison officials may be liable if they act with "deliberate indifference" or "recklessly disregard" an inmate's safety. In addition, if prison officials allow guards and other staff members to act "maliciously and sadistically for the very purpose of causing harm" to the inmate, the officials may be liable. However, guards are permitted to use force "in a good faith effort to maintain or restore discipline."

Unfortunately, the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996 makes it significantly more difficult for prisoners to challenge the actions of their jailors. Nevertheless, violation of a prisoner's constitutional rights should not be tolerated.

If a loved one has suffered a severe violation of his or her constitutional rights while incarcerated, it may be important to contact an attorney. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits within which you must commence suit.

See Also

  1. Police Misconduct & Inmate Abuse: Overview
  2. Prison Health Services -Tampa
  3. AIDS & HIV: Overview
  4. Breathing: Overview
  5. Broken Bones: Overview
  6. Bruises: Overview
  7. Dislocation: Overview
  8. Emotional Problems
  9. Head & Brain Injury
  10. Hepatitis: Overview
  11. Loss of Limb
  12. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Overview
  13. Spinal Cord Injury
  14. Wounds: Overview
  15. Prisoner & Inmate Abuse: Frequently Asked Questions
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