When someone’s mistake lands them in prison, their freedoms may be limited. Still, they have constitutional rights and protections such as freedom from cruel and unusual punishment. When a jail or prison inmate’s rights are violated by corrections officers or facility administrators, they are entitled to pursue justice and compensation for the harm they have endured.
If your rights were violated while you were incarcerated and you suffered injuries and losses as a result, The Zeiger Firm are the lawyers who help prisoners. We work tirelessly to advocate f clients who have sustained physical and emotional harm after being abused or neglected in Philadelphia jails and prisons. We will fight relentlessly for the compensation and justice you deserve.
Cases based on the violation of prisoners’ rights are complex. So it is important to have the guidance of a seasoned prison lawyer who knows what steps to take to protect your rights. To learn about your options for seeking a financial recovery for the injuries and losses you have suffered, talk to a Philadelphia prisoners’ rights lawyer from The Zeiger Firm today for a free case review. We’re on your side.
Do You Have a Case as a Prisoner?
Attorney Brian J. Zeiger can help you pursue a legal claim against the law enforcement agencies or corrections departments responsible for violating your rights as a prisoner in their custody. Common examples of prisoners’ rights cases in Philadelphia include:
- Malicious prosecution – Malicious prosecution occurs when prosecutors initiate or continue a criminal prosecution against a defendant, and the prosecutors know (or reasonably should know) that they have insufficient evidence to make a prima facie case against the defendant. This may include knowing that the state’s evidence will likely be found unreliable or inadmissible, or it may include withholding favorable or exculpatory evidence from the defense.
- Prison inmate abuse – A prison inmate can suffer abuse or neglect at the hands of prison officials and corrections officers in different ways. This can include physical abuse and assault. It may involve corrections officers and prison officials intentionally or recklessly failing to intervene in response to circumstances involving violence and abuse inflicted by inmates upon other inmates. Neglect can also occur when prison officials allow the condition of the facility to deteriorate, which forces inmates to live in unsanitary, unsafe, or inhospitable conditions.
- Jail inmate abuse – Even though some people may spend only a few hours or up to a few weeks or months in jail, they can still suffer abuse and neglect at the hands of corrections or police officers, police departments, or county corrections agencies. This may include abuse or assault inflicted by jail staff, unsafe or unsanitary conditions in a jail facility, or neglecting and failing to respond to incidents of violence between jail inmates.
- Medical neglect in prisons and jails – Prison and jail inmates have the right to receive medical attention and care, including for both acute injuries and illnesses, as well as for long-term medical conditions, no matter how long or how short they are expected to stay in a jail or prison. When jail or prison staff fail to render adequate medical care in response to inmates’ medical needs, they can be held liable for injuries and adverse medical conditions that result.
- Overturned convictions – A criminal defendant may be entitled to recover compensation for an overturned conviction where the conviction occurred due to wrongful behavior by law enforcement or prosecutors, including filing charges based on unreliable or inadmissible evidence, engaging in unlawful conduct to recover evidence for the state, fabricating inculpatory evidence, withholding exculpatory evidence or evidence favorable to the defense, or coaching or coercing witnesses to provide false or misleading testimony.
Losses You Can Recover in a Prisoners’ Rights Case
If you have suffered harm because of the violation of your rights as a prisoner, you may be entitled to demand compensation to cover the expenses and losses you have suffered, including:
- Costs of medical treatment you incur to recover from injuries or medical conditions that were caused by the deprivation of your rights in a prison or jail
- Costs of long-term care for permanent disabilities or chronic health conditions that you have suffered
- Loss of wages or income, if you were falsely imprisoned due to the wrongful acts of law enforcement or corrections officers or facility administrators
- Pain and anguish from physical harm you have endured as a prisoner in Philadelphia through the wrongful acts or omissions by corrections officers and agencies
- Emotional suffering and distress from egregious or outrageous behavior arising from intentional or reckless conduct of prison or jail officials
- Loss of quality of life from disabilities, scarring and disfigurement, or reduced life expectancy
Freedoms and Rights of Prisoners in Philadelphia
Prisoners are required to surrender many freedoms and rights as part of their punishment when they are incarcerated. Even people detained for a couple of hours or a day or two in jail must be subject to restrictive conditions necessary to maintain the facility’s security.
However, prisoners or detainees in jail or prison are still entitled to various freedoms and rights that cannot be violated by corrections officers or facility administrators. Examples of these rights and freedoms include:
- Freedom of religion, including having the opportunity and resources to worship in accordance with your religious practices
- Freedom of expression and communication, to the extent it does not jeopardize the security or the stable operation of the facility, including the right to raise grievances or to complain of misconduct by jail or prison staff
- The right to a predefined disciplinary system with sufficient notice of the potential punishments for violations of facility rules (so you are not subjected to arbitrary punishments for misconduct)
- Freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, including punishment that is intended to inflict physical harm or humiliation and punishment that would shock or offend normal sensibilities
- The right to receive treatment for medical conditions, both acute and chronic, including proper medical attention, surgery, medications, and assistive devices like a cane or walker
- The right to sanitary and habitable living conditions, including cells and facilities that offer appropriate heating or air conditioning, ventilation, and lighting
- The right to adequately take care of your personal hygiene, including access to adequate and safe bathing facilities and toiletries such as soaps, oral care products, and other grooming products and services like razors and haircuts
- The right to adequate nutrition and hydration, including regular meals and access to drinkable water
Common Violations of Prisoner Rights
Some of the most common examples of conduct or behavior that results in the violation of prisoners’ rights include:
- Use of excessive force by jail or prison personnel when transferring inmates or responding to security incidents
- Unnecessary use of riot suppression equipment, such as tear gas or bean bag rounds
- Illegal and unnecessary strip searches conducted for the purposes of harassment,
embarrassment, or sexual abuse
- Sexual assault or abuse by prison staff, including rape, unwanted sexual contact, demanding sexual favors in exchange for preferential treatment, or sexual harassment
- Discrimination based on a protected characteristic, including race, color, national origin, religious belief, gender, or age
- Deliberate indifference to medical needs or requests for medical attention
- Willful ignorance or neglect of abuse or violence between inmates
- Prison or jail staff engaging in intentional battery or physical abuse of inmates
- Psychological abuse by corrections officers, including threats of assaults, threats to withhold rescue from assault by fellow inmates, unreasonable or arbitrary denial of privileges, and belittling or demeaning conduct toward inmates
- Withholding of nutrition and personal hygiene materials without any justification for doing so
- Denial of sleep or subjecting an inmate to constant mental stimulation such as loud music or noises
- Unreasonable or arbitrary solitary confinement
- Destruction of non-contraband property of an inmate
- Refusal of access to the law library or to contact legal counsel or family and friends
- Failure to correct unsanitary or inhospitable living conditions
- Forcing inmates to perform work assignments despite injuries or medical conditions
How Our Philadelphia Prisoners’ Rights Lawyer Can Help
If you have been injured and suffered losses because of violations of your rights as a prisoner, attorney Brian J. Zeiger can help you demand justice and pursue a financial recovery from those responsible. We can handle all the details of your legal claim, such as:
- Thoroughly investigating the facts and circumstances of your case to secure evidence we can use to build an effective claim on your behalf
- Documenting injuries and losses you have suffered due to the violation of your rights
- Identifying at-fault individuals, agencies, and departments that can be held liable to compensate you
- Aggressively pursuing full compensation for you in a negotiated settlement or by taking your claims to trial, if necessary
Talk to a Prisoners’ Rights Attorney in Philadelphia Now
If you have been victimized by the deprivation of your rights while in prison or jail in the Philadelphia area, contact prisoners’ rights attorney Brian J. Zeiger at The Zeiger Firm for a free, confidential consultation. We will take the time to understand the details of your case and explain your legal options for pursuing full and fair compensation from the officers and agencies responsible. We’re ready to stand up for your rights.