Jail Wrongful Death and Jail Personal Injury Cases
Each and every year, media stories report incidents in which bereaved family
members are taking legal action in response to loved ones dying in custody
while being held in jails across the United States. In a striking number
of cases, individuals die while locked in jail due to negligent or reckless
conduct by staff members. In addition, there are cases in which people
die while incarcerated because of abusive conduct by jail staff members.
The most recent high-profile case concerns a woman named Sandra Bland.
In addition to individuals dying while locked up, thousands of incidents
are reported annually regarding injuries sustained by persons in jail.
Oftentimes, the injuries sustained are significant.
A jail personal injury attorney or a jail wrongful death lawyer likely
has a number of sad tales to tell about incarcerated individuals injured
or killed because of negligence or wrongful conduct by staff members.
The vast majority of people housed in a jail have yet to be found guilty
of a crime. While a legal reason may exist to house a person in jail,
no bona fide justification exists for an individual in this position being
subjected to neglect or abuse by jail staff.
The Disturbing Case of Sandra Bland
Sandra Bland was pulled over for a routine traffic stop by a Texas State
Trooper named Brian Encinia. The State Trooper filed a false arrest warrant
that inaccurately stated Bland was combative at the time he pulled her
over. The false affidavit led to Bland's arrest on what truly were
When an investigation into the case commenced, the State Trooper's
false arrest warrant was discovered. He was fired and charged with perjury.
However, the commencement of this process was too late for Bland.
After her arrest, Bland was found dead in her jail cell. The Waller County
Jail announced that Bland hung herself in her jail cell. Her family quickly
refuted the contention that Bland killed herself.
An investigation was opened and a jail wrongful death lawsuit filed by
Bland's family. Ultimately, the Bland family received a $1.9 million
settlement in the jail wrongful death case.
Death in Jail and State Prison Statistics
The last year in which data is available regarding death in jails and state
prisons in 2013, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. A total
4,446 died in custody that year, which represented an increase of 131
deaths over 2012. In the final analysis, an unknown number of these deaths
was due to negligence or other misconduct by jail or state prison staff.
The Deaths in Custody Reporting Program requires the maintenance of this date.
Death in Federal Prison Statistics
The Federal Bureau of Prisons is not subject to the Deaths in Custody Reporting
Program. Nonetheless, between approximately 350 and 400 die in federal
correctional custody annually. As is the case with state and local statistics,
there is not specific data on inmate deaths associated with staff negligence
or other misconduct. Moreover, the last year for which a complete recapitulation
of data is available is 2008.
Negligent Inmate Classification
One area in which jail or prison staff can be negligent involves the inmate
classification process. The inmate classification process, on the local,
state, and federal level is designed to ensure that violent inmates are
kept apart from the general population. Time and again, correctional facilities
fail in this crucial task. The net effect is that low-risk, non-violent
incarcerated individuals end up inappropriately in contact with individuals
with a propensity for violence.
These low-risk offenders oftentimes end up being injured or even killed
because of this type of inmate classification snafu. Grounds very well
may exists for a jail wrongful death or jail personal injury claim in
this type of situation.
Negligent Jail Intake Process
Television is awash in "real life" programming that includes
a close-up look at penal institutions. These shows frequently profile
what they describe as being the most dangerous part of a jail: the intake office.
In the intake area of a jail, people are being brought in off the street,
just arrested and in a majority of cases, under the influence of mind-altering
substances. A negligence claim can arise when jailers do not take reasonable
steps to segregate inmates, even in an intake setting.
Intake dangers also exists on the state and federal level. However, by
the time an inmate reaches this level of incarceration, there tends to
be more information about an offender and at least some degree of separation
has already been in place at least for some period of time.
Compensation in a Jail Wrongful Death Case
The nature of compensation in a jail wrongful death case depends on the
specific facts and circumstances at hand. Common types of losses for which
a family can seek compensation include:
- loss of companionship
- loss of consortium
- funeral expenses
- lost income
- emotional distress
Compensation in a Jail Personal Injury Case
A person injured in a jail, state correctional institution, or federal
prison may be entitled to different types of compensation, depending on
the facts of his or her case. Typically types of compensation in a jail
personal injury case includes:
- medical bills
- pain and suffering
- permanent disability
- emotional distress
Retain a Jail Wrongful Death or Jail Personal Injury Lawyer
The Doan Law Firm maintains jail wrongful death and jail personal injury
attorneys on its experienced, tenacious legal team. The jail negligence
attorneys at the firm understand the unique needs of family members who
lost a loved one while incarcerated as well as of jailed individuals injured
because of institutional negligence.
An attorney from The Doan Law Firm will schedule an initial consultation
in regard to a jail negligence case at no cost. The Doan Law Firm has
offices across the United States.
An initial consultation can be scheduled by telephoning 800-349-0000. The
telephone line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year,
including on all major holidays.