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Can You Sue a Pennsylvania Jail for Mistreatment?

Pennsylvnia Jail

When prison staff’s actions cause an inmate to suffer physical or emotional harm, they must be held accountable. Regardless of whether a person is incarcerated, in injury caused by abuse, mistreatment, or negligence is grounds for a legal claim. Inmates and their families should speak with an experienced attorney right away.

Mistreatment in Jail and Prison

Inmates have Constitutional rights which prison officers and staff must uphold. Unfortunately, mistreatment comes in many forms in jails and prisons. Some types of mistreatment include:

  • Physical abuse or assault by a facility staff member
  • Allowing harassment by other inmates
  • Psychological abuse
  • Neglecting to maintain the facility in conditions
  • Sexual abuse, assault, and harassment
  • Inmate neglect, such as failure to provide medical care or nutrition
  • Abuse of power by a correctional officer
  • Corruption by a correctional officer

Sexual misconduct is abuse. In fact, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) has a zero-tolerance policy regarding sexual abuse and harassment of inmates. Anyone who engages in, knowingly condones, and/or fails to report instances of sexual harassment or sexual abuse of an inmate could be subject to disciplinary action and criminal prosecution.

Neglecting to provide appropriate medical attention in jail and prison is also mistreatment. We represented the wife of a man who committed suicide as an inmate in a correctional facility. The lawsuit claimed that medical staff failed to evaluate the man’s risk for suicide and need for antidepressants. His wife sought $800,000 to settle before trial but the defendants rejected it. Gay Chacker & Ginsburg obtained a verdict nearly 15 times the initial settlement demand. A federal jury ordered the negligent health care provider to pay $11.9 million.

No matter the act, mistreatment is a civil rights violation and must be treated accordingly. Gay Chacker & Ginsburg has spent decades working to protect those rights and obtain justice from those who allow harm to come to prison and jail inmates.

Filing a Lawsuit for Inmate Mistreatment

The first step toward seeking justice is to contact Gay Chacker & Ginsburg for a free consultation. We will listen to your story and discuss your situation. Then, we’ll explain the actions you can take to hold the right people accountable and stop the mistreatment from continuing. There is no obligation when you contact our firm.

It’s important to know that there are time limits to filing a legal claim. Waiting too long can forever bar you from seeking compensation for the damages you’ve suffered.

Reporting Mistreatment

Anyone who sees or knows about mistreatment in jail or prison must report the acts right away. Doing so can not only protect the victim’s rights, but also help ensure the same abuse does not happen again. But acting immediately is critical. The longer you wait, the more difficult it is to uncover evidence and details to investigate the situation.

Pennsylvania outlines its policies for identifying and reporting prison inmate abuse. The DOC defines abuse in three ways:

  1. Use of excessive force on an inmate
  2. Unwarranted, life-threatening act against an inmate
  3. Articulated verbal or written threat to inflict physical injury directed toward an inmate

There are several ways to report mistreatment by a prison staff member. The inmate or his or her family member can provide a verbal or written report to any staff member. They can also submit a grievance in accordance with the DOC’s “Inmate Grievance System.” Finally, they may provide a report to the DOC Office of Special Investigations and Intelligence. We welcome you to contact our firm for advice about reporting inmate mistreatment appropriately.

How Personal Injury Attorneys, Gay Chacker & Ginsburg Can Help

Victims of abuse or other civil rights violations may have a right to seek compensation for the harm someone else caused. For decades, the Prison Rights Lawyers at Gay Chacker & Ginsburg have successfully represented people involved in civil rights and criminal defense cases. Firm partner Ed Chacker has a long track record of ensuring equal justice and civil rights for everyone – regardless of race, background, orientation, or beliefs. If you or a loved one was mistreated in prison, there is no time to waste. Our firm can investigate the situation, get answers, and get to work seeking justice and compensation for the harm done.

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