Can Inmates Who Are Raped in Prison Sue the Government?

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posted on Dec, 23 2011 @ 06:37 AM
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Right up front, I have never been to jail or prison, so I have no firsthand knowledge or experience with this subject...but it is such a common "given" of life as an incarcerated individual, that I take it as fact that a great many people suffer this great indignity while behind bars.


A 1992 estimate from the Federal Bureau of Prisons conjectured that between 9 and 20 percent of inmates had been sexually assaulted. Studies in 1982 and 1996 both concluded that the rate was somewhere between 12 and 14 percent


With a prison population in the U.S. of about 2.5 million people, this would mean that somewhere between 225,000 and 500,000 of those currently in prison have been sexually assaulted. These are staggering numbers...

en.wikipedia.org...(United_States)

en.wikipedia.org...

While some people might find the idea of prison rape to be funny, or somehow part of the punishment for one's crimes, I think that in reality this prison violence has no place...at all.

If one gets sent away for fraud, or robbery, or past due taxes...or whatever...isn't a person entitled to be able to serve their court-mandated time in peace, quiet and dignity? Shouldn't an inmate be able to expect to be protected from other violent elements of "the population"?

If he is not protected, and suffers a sexual assault...shouldn't he be able to sue the County, State or Federal Government (as the case may be) for pain and suffering, for having failed to provide adequate security?

I am aware that the Government passed the "Rape Elimination Act" in 2003...but that does not seem to be having its intended effect.

If various levels of Government began to get their butts (pun intended) sued off, to the tune of multi-millions of dollars...then maybe finally the system would change.

I am very curious to learn:

1) Can inmates legally sue the Government for this?
2) What does ATS think about his whole issue?
edit on 23-12-2011 by mobiusmale because: typos




posted on Dec, 23 2011 @ 06:43 AM
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Simply food for thought........can an ordinary citizen on the street sue their local or state government if they are raped?

I see exactly what you are saying, but with prisons being full of prisoners I guess reliable witnesses would be few and far between, making such litigation difficult.



posted on Dec, 23 2011 @ 06:48 AM
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Is this much different than asking: Can a person sue the city for being raped on a street, park etc.? If someone goes to your home and gets raped by a stranger in the house or even if ou invited the person in can they the person the crime was committed against sue you? Not that i am aware of.



posted on Dec, 23 2011 @ 06:48 AM
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I wouldn't be surprised if you could. In the US if someone looks at you the wrong way some lawyers will say you have a case



posted on Dec, 23 2011 @ 06:51 AM
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i do know that one loses "civil liberties" once convicted of a felony -




In the United States, inmates in both state and federal prisons are guaranteed certain constitutional and civil rights. They include freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, the right to due process, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to adequate medical care, freedom from racial discrimination, and the right of access to the courts. Only in unusual circumstances and for the sa ke of safety and security may limitations be imposed on these rights.
www.seorf.ohiou.edu...

www.kentlaw.edu...
www.shouselaw.com...
realcostofprisons.org...

the one thing is the guards have so much control over inmates - lots of sex going on in women's prisons -

good thread - i look forward to other's searches on this



posted on Dec, 23 2011 @ 06:52 AM
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Ok, how about you are having a party and everything is going fine until one guest, for no reason, punches another in the nose. Can the person punched in the nose sue you?



posted on Dec, 23 2011 @ 06:52 AM
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I don't know how the prison system works (never been there), but I have no doubt some correctional officers will deliberately place people they don't like in harm's way. The trouble is, how do you prove it? If they want to, they can have you raped by proxy.

If I ever end up in prison (for what I type here, in the future
), I would be VERY respectful to the guards.



posted on Dec, 23 2011 @ 06:53 AM
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Originally posted by 8om8er
I see exactly what you are saying, but with prisons being full of prisoners I guess reliable witnesses would be few and far between, making such litigation difficult.


Prisoners DON'T talk.

If they do, rape is the least of their problems. They risk being killed.



posted on Dec, 23 2011 @ 06:54 AM
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Yes it is a direct violation of the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution.


Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.


VIII Amendment Wiki - Must Read!!



posted on Dec, 23 2011 @ 06:57 AM
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reply to post by NuclearPaul
 


Being raped at all while under the full jurisdiction and under full responsibility of the state is their ultimate fault.

You cannot lock someone up and then claim it's not your fault when things go badly.
edit on 23-12-2011 by muzzleflash because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 23 2011 @ 06:57 AM
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Originally posted by NuclearPaul
I don't know how the prison system works (never been there), but I have no doubt some correctional officers will deliberately place people they don't like in harm's way. The trouble is, how do you prove it? If they want to, they can have you raped by proxy.

If I ever end up in prison (for what I type here, in the future
), I would be VERY respectful to the guards.
screw those guards - bunch of low iq people who cannot find a better paying job - supposed to be there to protect the population instead they use and abuse -

check it out - topdocumentaryfilms.com...

so you would be respectful to someone who has complete control over another human being - most of those prisoners are in prison because of the drug war the u.s. have declared -

this whole picture of prison system in the u.s. is staggering and ugly -



posted on Dec, 23 2011 @ 06:58 AM
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reply to post by muzzleflash
 

I would say that if the govt caused or knowingly allowed it to happen, yes, it would be a violation of the constitution. As others have said, it would be difficult to prove.



posted on Dec, 23 2011 @ 06:58 AM
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Originally posted by butcherguy
reply to post by muzzleflash
 

I would say that if the govt caused or knowingly allowed it to happen, yes, it would be a violation of the constitution. As others have said, it would be difficult to prove.


You don't have to prove anything other than:

1) It happened.
2) You were under their responsibility while locked in their facility.



posted on Dec, 23 2011 @ 07:01 AM
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This is why all prisoners should be held in isolation, and direct physical socialization should be forbidden. It only opens the doors for violations of liberty and all types of crimes to be committed.

It would prevent all of these problems from occurring and it would protect the liberty of the prisoner while being held under the responsibility of the state within their facilities.



posted on Dec, 23 2011 @ 07:01 AM
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Originally posted by musselwhite

Originally posted by NuclearPaul
I don't know how the prison system works (never been there), but I have no doubt some correctional officers will deliberately place people they don't like in harm's way. The trouble is, how do you prove it? If they want to, they can have you raped by proxy.

If I ever end up in prison (for what I type here, in the future
), I would be VERY respectful to the guards.
screw those guards - bunch of low iq people who cannot find a better paying job - supposed to be there to protect the population instead they use and abuse -

check it out - topdocumentaryfilms.com...

so you would be respectful to someone who has complete control over another human being - most of those prisoners are in prison because of the drug war the u.s. have declared -

this whole picture of prison system in the u.s. is staggering and ugly -



Drugs are illegal in about 98% of the countries on the Earth.



posted on Dec, 23 2011 @ 07:03 AM
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Originally posted by 8om8er
Simply food for thought........can an ordinary citizen on the street sue their local or state government if they are raped?


I think that the difference is (might) be that when you are just walking down the street as a free citizen, you going about your business "on your own"...and the authorities can't be expected to be everywhere at once to protect you from random acts of violence.

But once you are sent to prison, you are "in the custody" of the State and then totally dependent on them for your care and well being. They provide you with shelter, food, medical care and security.

If rape in prison was a very rare and isolated occurance, than maybe the analogy would hold. But everyone knows that this is a daily...systemic...problem. How can the State hide from their failure to recognize and take concerted steps to resolve this problem within their system of "rehabilitation"?

edit on 23-12-2011 by mobiusmale because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 23 2011 @ 07:04 AM
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Originally posted by muzzleflash
Being raped at all while under the full jurisdiction and under full responsibility of the state is their ultimate fault.

You cannot lock someone up and then claim it's not your fault when things go badly.
edit on 23-12-2011 by muzzleflash because: (no reason given)


I agree completely. Why should anyone be granted such power over an individual and have no responsibility?

It's like when someone gets attacked in a schoolyard and fights back. The school says "both of them were fighting, giving everyone the impression that they were not in the wrong - the two students were. It must look bad when you are responsible for a minor and they were physically assaulted...



posted on Dec, 23 2011 @ 07:08 AM
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Originally posted by muzzleflash
This is why all prisoners should be held in isolation, and direct physical socialization should be forbidden. It only opens the doors for violations of liberty and all types of crimes to be committed.

It would prevent all of these problems from occurring and it would protect the liberty of the prisoner while being held under the responsibility of the state within their facilities.
I agree with that.
Restricting socialization in prison would also restrict 'prison schooling' where inmates learn new criminal techniques and ways to avoid detection and arrest after they are released.



posted on Dec, 23 2011 @ 07:14 AM
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reply to post by mobiusmale
 

To succinctly answer your question, the answer is yes. A more insightful question would be, "Can an inmate win, or is he likely to win, such a suit. Except for a few limited situations, there is no pre-filing screening process for lawsuits. Anyone can grab a pen and a piece of paper and write down anything, take it to a courthouse, pay the filing fee, and voila, somebody is sued. Then the "screening begins, usually as a result of a Rule 12 motion to dismiss for one of a number of reasons, or of a Rule 56 Motion for Summary Judgment.
One large impediment to the success of such a suit would be the defense of sovereign immunity, although a case would have a better chance of evading that defense if framed as a "1983" action for a deprivation of rights under color of state law, or, if it's a federal prison, a "Bivens" action. Incidentally, one study showed that a rape by prison staff occured three times more often than a rape by a fellow inmate. blog.timesunion.com...



posted on Dec, 23 2011 @ 07:23 AM
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Originally posted by butcherguy
I agree with that.

Restricting socialization in prison would also restrict 'prison schooling' where inmates learn new criminal techniques and ways to avoid detection and arrest after they are released.


There would an awful lot of benefits...to the prisoner, and to society as a whole...if an individual had contact (only or mainly) with counselors, therapists, teachers and positive mentors. This would be true rehabilitation.

I can't imagine what the costs would be initially...but one might think that in long run the cost would be lower.

And..except for the statistic that something like 18% of prison rapes are committed by guards...would likely nearly eradicate the problem.





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