People who are being held in state and federal prisons have a right to be treated with respect as they serve their sentences. Unfortunately, many prisoners suffer a wide variety of abuses and injuries at the hands of prison guards, correctional employees, and even other inmates during their incarceration. When these abuses occur, victims can seek monetary compensation and recognition for their ill-treatment. They may even be able to force the prison system to make positive changes that will impact future prisoners.
Our Kansas City Attorneys Advocate for Prisoners Whose Rights Have Been Violated
Under the Civil Rights Act, prisoners who have suffered injuries due to cruel and unusual punishment may be able to sue individuals, companies, and even government entities who share liability in the violation of the prisoner’s civil rights.
These claims, known as Section 1983 claims, allow an injured person to bring a case against someone who acted “under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia.” Common violations in these cases include failure to acknowledge the victim’s rights under the United States Constitution, such as the 8th Amendment right to incarceration without cruel and unusual punishment or the 14th Amendment right to due process and equal treatment.
Foster Wallace, LLC represents prisoners who have suffered cruel or unjust treatment during incarceration or while awaiting trial, including:
- Excessive force. All people in our nation have the right to reasonable care and treatment by law enforcement officers during an arrest, traffic stop, investigation, or detention. However, police brutality continues to be a problem both at the local and federal level. Our firm has a great deal of experience in excessive force claims, including determining whether force was used in a clear attempt to cause harm, if a fellow officer could have prevented the use of excessive force, and if the facility or municipality did not do enough to discourage the use of excessive force.
- Failure to provide medical treatment. Prisoners are forced to rely on the prison system for all of their needs, including medical care. If correctional officers fail to take a request for a doctor seriously, deny a prisoner access to medical assistance, interfere with a prescribed course of treatment, or intentionally delay medical care, the guards or facility may be liable for the prisoner’s injury.
- Violation of due process. Prisoners may suffer incarceration for months or even years as a result of improper conviction. Under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, state and local governments have a duty to provide and ensure a fair legal process before depriving a person of his or her liberty. If police officers did not follow proper procedure, failed to respect privacy laws, made an unlawful arrest, or were guilty of misconduct in the case, a prisoner has a right to seek compensation for illegal imprisonment.
- Discrimination. The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment requires each jurisdiction to provide equal protection under the law to all people, including non-citizens. However, people belonging to various religious or ethnic groups routinely suffer physical and emotional abuse, neglect, or denial of prison amenities (such as food or access to recreational activities) as a result of discrimination.
- Unsafe conditions. Although prisoners have a right to be held in reasonably safe and sanitary conditions during incarceration, facilities are often poorly-maintained, understaffed, or have unnecessarily dangerous operating procedures. For-profit prisons run by private corporations as well as underfunded state institutions may allow unsafe conditions to continue for years at the expense of prisoner health. In 2017, our founding attorney Michael Foster secured $111,000 in compensation for a Missouri prisoner whose asthma was irritated by secondhand smoke in his facility. The case led to a smoking ban in all Missouri prisons in April 2018.
- Death. Any one of the abuses above can have fatal effects for a prisoner, especially since his or her ability to seek help is extremely limited. The families of inmates may be able to file a lawsuit on behalf of a prisoner killed as a result of unsanitary conditions, mistreatment, riots, staffing and facility problems, overcrowding, or other failure to protect an inmate from harm.
Let Us Advise You on Your Prisoner Litigation Case
Prisoner litigation is a highly-specialized area of law and requires experience as well as the tenacity to prove that the victim’s rights were violated. Foster Wallace, LLC has a proven record of success in these types of cases, securing payment and justice for prisoners who were mistreated under the law.
It is worth noting that the statute of limitations can vary widely from state to state, and victims should contact us as soon as possible to preserve their eligibility to file a claim. Call our office today or fill out our online contact form to speak with a member of our legal team.