Nearly a third of Rikers Island inmates who said that they were injured by correctional officers last year suffered an impact to the head, a tactic that by protocol should be a guard’s last resort because of its potential fatality, according to The Associated Press. While correctional officers may appropriately use force, at times such force is not appropriate or is excessive. There may be recourse when correctional officers do not comply with standard operating procedure and injury results. For example, New York City agreed to pay $2.75 million to settle a lawsuit stemming from the December 2012 death of a prisoner at Rikers Island after he suffered blunt force trauma to the head.
New York gives a lot of power to prison guards to effectively maintain the prison system and keep inmates safe. However, some correctional officers abuse this power. When corrections officers become employed in the City of New York Department of Corrections, they become responsible for protecting inmates. The reality is that the job of a correctional officer is dangerous and stressful and sometimes, as a result, they act inappropriately and outside of the law.
Some prison guards abuse their power and bully an inmate, potentially leading to the assault of a helpless prisoner. This problem is exacerbated by a large number of mentally ill prisoners in the system. The mentally ill, due to their disabilities, may act inappropriately and provocatively themselves resulting in an inappropriate, violent response.
If you have been injured in a correctional facility, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to explore your legal rights and obligations.