Excessive Use of Force by Correctional Officers- Overview
Once an individual has been imprisoned and convicted, they are under the permanent surveillance and guardianship of correctional staff, who should respect an inmate’s constitutional rights to physical and psychological integrity under all circumstances. It is when these officers overstep their boundaries and jeopardize inmate rights that we can refer to excessive use of force.
Extrajudicial Punishment Is Excessive Use of Force
Regardless of the nature of the crime, an inmate should not be subjected to punishment, mistreatment, or negligence during the application of rules and order. Only if an individual poses a threat to the life and integrity of other people should force be applied. Repeated actions against inmates, retaliation, neglect, and measures that leave permanent or debilitating injury are considered a form of abuse as well.
Undue actions against an inmate that can’t be categorized as de minimis (minor) but leave injury are a violation of the Eighth Amendment. Repetitive improper behavior, retaliatory measures, use of chemicals as punishment, and neglect of petitions (related to health, for instance) are also considered to cross the line into excessive use of force by correctional officers.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Excessive Use of Force by Correctional Officers?
An individual officer, several officers or the county that employs them can all be held liable through a federal claim, separation from office, or injunction. Supervisors of an offending officer can be subjected to the application of a standard called “deliberate indifference,” which means they somehow permitted the incorrect behavior by not discouraging, punishing, or stopping it.
Some Tips to Successfully Claim for Excessive Use of Force by Correctional Officers
Before you seek legal representation for correctional offer excessive force, all administrative resources must be exhausted exhausted before resorting to a federal or state claim. This shows compliance with the Prison Litigation Reform Act and prevents a case from being dismissed by the court. Statutes of limitation are also important: two years for federal and six months for state law.
Speak with an Excessive Force Lawyer in California
Only experienced attorneys know the ins and outs of the law and can help you have a case for excessive use of force by correctional officers in California. It is important to take legal action to discourage further these behaviors, which are undue and unfair regardless of the crime committed.
Haddad & Sherwin LLP has a long, successful track record winning wrongful death and other serious civil rights claims for police and jail officer misconduct, throughout Northern and Central California. Call or email us for a free consultation.