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Excessive Use of Force by Correctional Officers- Overview

This content about Excessive Use of Force by Correctional Officers was written by a third party and does not represent the views or opinions of Haddad & Sherwin LLP, nor should it be construed as a complete and accurate statement of the law or as legal advice.  For better information about this topic, please contact Haddad & Sherwin LLP.

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 the inmates’ rights that we can refer to excessive use of force. Here is what you should know about this tort.

Extrajudicial Punishment Is Excessive Use of Force

No correctional officer should attempt to punish a citizen under custody, and force shouldn’t be applied unless they pose a threat to anyone’s life or integrity. When searching or order-inducing tasks are done in a deliberate way to cause harm or compromise an inmate’s rights, we may be talking about excessive use of force.

Undue actions on 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

The most important thing is that all other administrative resources are 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.

Legal Support Is Important

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.

This content about Excessive Use of Force by Correctional Officers was written by a third party and does not represent the views or opinions of Haddad & Sherwin LLP, nor should it be construed as a complete and accurate statement of the law or as legal advice.  For better information about this topic, please contact Haddad & Sherwin LLP.