Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
Prisoners and inmates throughout the country are usually restricted from many rights and privileges that people on the outside take for granted every day. However, prisoners should never be deprived of certain rights, like the right to be free of violence or sexual violence. Every year, thousands of inmates report sexual assault or rape committed by prison guards and correctional officers while thousands of other cases probably go unreported.
If you or a loved one was sexually assaulted by a correctional officer while incarcerated in the U.S., call The Law Office of Andrew Shubin today. Our attorney for victims of sexual assault from prison guards and staff might be able to take your case and fight to get you compensation and justice for the harm you faced. Call us today at (814) 826-3586 to set up a free case consultation.
Can You Sue a Jail or Prison for Rape by a Correctional Officer?
When most people think about sexual violence in prison, they often think about inmate-on-inmate rape and violence. However, a large percentage of reported sexual assaults in jail and prisons across the United States are actually committed by prison guards, medics, administrators, and other correctional facility staff. If you were raped or sexually assaulted by one of these officers or workers, you might be entitled to sue them in court.
In most states, sexually assaulting an inmate is illegal. Laws in most states revoke an inmate’s legal ability to consent to sexual intercourse. This might sound like you are being deprived of your rights, but what it means is that even if intercourse or sexual acts with a guard were “consensual,” they still qualify as rape or sexual assault because of the inherent power inequality between an inmate and the prison guard. This means you could be considered the victim of a crime any time a correctional officer or other person in a position of authority at a prison or jail touches you inappropriately or otherwise sexually assaults you.
When you are the victim of a crime, it usually means that you have the right to file charges against the responsible parties. However, you might also have the right to file a civil lawsuit. Rather than focusing on criminal penalties for the prison guard, this would focus on getting you the compensation you need to seek justice for injuries, unwanted pregnancies, and emotional distress after sexual assault by a prison guard.
These kinds of attacks and assaults also qualify as a violation of your civil rights, which could potentially justify a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the main civil rights legislation that allows victims of government violence to file a civil lawsuit.
Restrictions on Lawsuits for Sexual Violence Committed by Prison Guards in the U.S.
If you do want to sue a prison guard and the prison that hired them for rape, sexual assault, or any other act of violence or sexual violence, you might face certain restrictions on your case.
The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) places certain restrictions on when and how a federal inmate can sue a federal prison for injuries or rape. First, the inmate might be required to exhaust all other remedies, such as reporting the case to the prison, before attempting to file a lawsuit. The PLRA also might restrict the number of chances you have to try to file a case before they will hold failed attempts against you, potentially by requiring you to pay all filing fees up front before your case can be heard. The law also requires physical injuries to be shown, which could be hard in cases of unwanted sexual touching or cases of assault without injury. This law makes it very hard for some inmates to sue, but our attorneys are ready for the challenge.
There are also statutes of limitations that might affect when your case needs to be filed. Section 1983 does not have its own statute of limitations, so these lawsuits usually borrow state statutes of limitations under the ruling in Wilson v. Garcia (1985). If the state has multiple statutes of limitations for personal injury claims, such as longer statutes of limitations for sexual abuse victims, Owens v. Okure (1989) might dictate which limitations period to use. If a case is filed after the statute of limitations has passed, the claim might be barred from going to court.
Lastly, many states have restrictions on lawsuits against the government. There might be notice requirements, where the inmate needs to notify the prison that they intend to file a lawsuit. These requirements might have a much shorter deadline than the actual court case does. There might also be restrictions on damages from lawsuits against government entities like prisons and jails. Talk to a lawyer about the challenges in your case.
Gathering Evidence for Lawsuits Against Prisons for Rape and Sexual Assault
In many cases, the evidence of what happened in your case will be under the prison’s control. Security camera videos, bodycam footage, records and reports, medical records, and duty logs are all things that the prison has control over. Our attorneys can use court powers to subpoena these items and request that they be preserved for your case. Without a prompt request, footage could be overwritten within days, and documents might be shredded or destroyed according to retention policies. Talk to a lawyer as soon as you can to help preserve the evidence you need for your case.
Call Our Lawyer for Victims of Sexual Assault and Rape by Prison Guards and Corrections Officers
If you or a loved one was raped or sexually assaulted in prison, contact a lawyer immediately. The Law Office of Andrew Shubin’s attorney for victims of sexual assault from prison guards and staff might be able to take your case and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. For a free legal consultation, call us today at (814) 826-3586.