An Iowa Prison Guard With an Inmate

Your loved one has to serve jail time, and you are understandably concerned. Not only will you miss having your loved one around, but you worry about your loved one’s safety. You’ve seen so many TV shows and movies where prisoners are treated horribly, and you worry that you are loved one will be hurt.

Prisoners’ Rights

Some of your loved one’s rights will change in prison. Prison staff may read mail, monitor visits, and set curfews, for example. However, prison staff may never abuse or neglect a prisoner.

Prison abuse occurs when prison staff intentionally harms a prisoner. It could include, for example, prison staff:

  • Intentionally inflicting harm on a prisoner. Hitting, attacking, or otherwise hurting a prisoner on purpose is abuse. Some corrections officers or police officers may abuse their power over prisoners by physically attacking them.
  • Using more force than is necessary to control a prisoner. If a prisoner is a threat to himself or others, then prison staff may use force to control the prisoner and prevent physical injuries.
  • Sexually assaulting a prisoner. Prison staff may not have sexual intercourse, oral sex, or any other form of sexual activity with prisoners.

Prison neglect occurs when prison staff fail to use reasonable care with regard to your loved one’s health or safety. Neglect may occur at prisons that are understaffed, that do not train or support staff members, or that fail to demand appropriate care by staff members. Prison neglect could occur, for example, when prison staff:

  • Allow abuse between prisoners. Sexual abuse and physical abuse may occur between prisoners. Corrections officers have a duty to protect prisoners from these forms of abuse by watching for warning signs and separating inmates who hurt other prisoners.
  • Fail to recognize warning signs of suicide. Suicide is a significant problem in prison. Corrections officers should know what signs to look for and how to take action if a prisoner is at risk.
  • Fail to provide sufficient nutrition, hydration, and the opportunity to sleep. All people, including prisoners, need food, water, and reasonable rest.
  • Fail to provide a safe living environment. Prison means giving up the comforts of home. However, prisoners have a right to a clean environment that is neither too hot nor too cold for human living.
  • Fail to provide appropriate health care. This includes medical care, mental health care, and dental care.

Abuse and neglect can cause injuries such as broken bones, internal injuries, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, and even death. If your loved one has been hurt or killed by prison abuse or neglect, then it is time to take action.

How to Protect a Prisoner’s Rights and Recovery

It is difficult to know how many Iowa prisoners are victims of abuse or neglect. Many prisoners do not report their injuries because they don’t know that they can, they fear that they won’t be taken seriously, or they worry that their treatment will worsen.

If your loved one has been hurt, then you may need to help your loved one protect his rights, or if your loved one has died, then it may be up to you to seek justice. Either way, your first call should be to an experienced police brutality lawyer.

Our dedicated attorneys will go above and beyond the call of duty to find out what happened to your loved one and to get a fair recovery. We will fight hard to make sure that your loved one, or his survivors, recover for all of the damages related to prison abuse or neglect, including but not limited to:

  • Medical costs
  • Lost income
  • Out-of-pocket costs
  • Physical pain and emotional suffering
  • Punitive damages

All victims of prison abuse and neglect deserve justice. Accordingly, Hupy and Abraham offers free consultations, and you will not owe us any legal fees until your case is successfully settled or resolved in court. Call us today to schedule your free consultation. We will be happy to come to you, or you are welcome, by appointment, in our Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, or Quad Cities offices.

Jason F. Abraham
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Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham