Prison inmates in Connecticut have the right not to be assaulted or the victim of excessive force in prison. This goes for assault perpetrated by other inmates or by correctional facility staff members. On this page, you can learn more about inmate rights, situations in which assault or excessive force might occur, and what to do if you think that your rights have been violated.
What is Excessive Force?
Before we continue, it is important that you understand what constitutes excessive force when it comes to Department of Corrections workers and other correctional facility staff members. Certain professionals such as police officers and correctional officers are allowed to use force in their jobs, if the situation calls for it. This is because their jobs can be dangerous, and they may need to restrain someone in order to protect themselves or someone else. However, such workers are not allowed to use excessive force. Excessive force occurs when a correctional officer or a police officer uses force in a situation that does not warrant it, or uses too much force for the situation at hand. For example, if a police officer assaults a suspect that is complying with their instructions, or if a correctional officer uses deadly force in a situation where a simple restraint would restore order.
As an inmate at a correctional facility, you have the following rights in respect to abuse:
- You have the right to freedom from excessive force. Officers can use force to preserve order, but they cannot use malicious or sadistic force.
- You have the right to protection from prison officials from assault by other inmates.
- Prison officials are also responsible for recognizing threats made from one inmate to another. If a correctional officer knows about the potential of harm to an inmate and does not intervene, they may be violating the United States Constitution. Also, if the prison conditions increase the risk of assault or harm to its inmates, the prison officials could be held responsible. A few common issues include insufficient number of officers, cells with doors that don’t lock properly, and more.
Protecting Your Rights
If you think that you are the victim of assault or excessive force as a prison inmate, you can take action to protect yourself and your rights. If you were assaulted by another inmate or a prison official, file a grievance, which is an official complaint. If necessary, you should also file an appeal to ensure that the grievance is recognized. Keep in mind that time limits usually exist for filing grievances, so make sure to file one as soon as possible.
In the event that you are in immediate danger from another inmate or a staff member, contact another staff member and let them know. If possible, record this communication in writing so that there is a record of it which you can use in the future.
One of the best things that you can do if you suspect that you are the victim of assault or excessive force is contact a civil rights lawyer. Such a lawyer can review your situation and help you determine the best way to proceed. They can protect your rights and get you the justice that you deserve. For more information, contact my office.