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Aggressive Lawyers for the Seriously Injured

Rights as an Inmate in Rikers Island

Zoomed-in picture of Rikers Island fence

Rikers Island prison has been marred by dangerous failures to provide basic services and protections to inmates. The rights of inmates in Rikers Island have been denied in many recent cases, resulting in serious injuries and even death. The deterioration of security protocols, poor supervision, denial of basic services to inmates, and failure to hold staff accountable have all resulted in inmates’ rights being violated on Rikers Island.

Attorney Michael LoGiudice has an in-depth understanding of all the problems and rights violations on Rikers Island. He has a strong reputation for defending inmates’ rights in and out of court. For example, suppose you or your loved one has been an inmate on Rikers Island and injured because of inhumane living conditions, assault, or other rights violations. In that case, it’s essential that you speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Contact Michael LoGiudice, LLP, today to schedule a free case evaluation. 

What Are the Rights of Inmates at Rikers Island?

The constitutional rights of prisoners are somewhat limited, but many important rights still apply. If you or your loved one are imprisoned in a jail or prison facility, it’s important that you understand your constitutional rights. The 8th Amendment of the US Constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishment from being applied to prisoners. As a result, Rikers Island must meet the minimum standard of living required by the Constitution. Injured inmates can pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit for the following types of rights violations:

  • Use of excessive force
  • Police brutality
  • Government abuse
  • False imprisonment
  • Other constitutional rights violations 

Protection Against Excessive Force

The 8th Amendment of the Constitution also guarantees prisoners protection against excessive force. Unjustifiable police brutality or brutality by correctional officers violates the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment. Correctional officers have a right to use force to stop assaults and fights among Rikers Island inmates. However, they cannot use excessive force to stop an attack. For example, if a police officer could have restrained an inmate with minimal force but chose to assault the inmate brutally, the inmate would have a claim for compensation for his or her injuries.

The Right Against Unlawful Discrimination

The equal protection Clause of the 14th Amendment forbids discrimination based on sex, race, and creed. Inmates in Rikers Island also have First Amendment rights and are protected from discrimination by the facility because of their religion or disability. As a result, disabled inmates cannot be denied reasonable accommodations for their medical conditions. 

For example, Rikers Island must provide inmates with interpreters and necessary medical equipment. Inmates have a right to exercise their religious beliefs. Prison officials cannot prevent them from exercising their religious beliefs unless they show a compelling interest in why their religious practice cannot be accommodated. Conversely, inmates can’t be forced to participate in any religious activities.

Pregnancy-Related Healthcare

The conditions for women on Rikers Island have been particularly dangerous. In 2021, over 200 women were moved out of Rikers Island because of deteriorating conditions. Female inmates at Rikers Island have the right to pregnancy-related healthcare. They have the right to an abortion or to decline an abortion assuming the procedure is otherwise legal under New York state law. They also have the right to receive pregnancy and post-pregnancy medical care. The prison cannot require them to take birth control medication or anything else that would inhibit or influence their ability to become pregnant.

The Right to Send and Receive Mail

Prisoners generally have the right to send and receive mail under the First Amendment, with some restrictions. For example, non-privileged mail such as letters to and from family members and friends is not considered private and can be censored by prison officials for security reasons. However, prisoner officials cannot censor incoming or outgoing mail simply because they don’t like its contents or as a way to retaliate against a prisoner. Communication from a legal representative that is considered privileged is private and can only be reviewed if there is probable cause or a warrant from the court.

The Right to Medical Care

Many Rikers Island inmates have been denied basic medical treatment, resulting in their medical conditions and injuries getting worse. One inmate stated that doctors refused to change her bandage resulting in pain. She also stated that they would not give her medication. Others have stated that doctors would not provide them with the medication they needed for months. If you are a loved one who has been denied medical treatment as an inmate at Rikers Island, it’s important that you reach out to an attorney who can help you get the treatment you need. 

Common Injuries Suffered By Inmates in Rikers Island

Inmate violence can cause devastating and potentially fatal injuries. Another frequent cause of injuries is the failure of correctional officers to intervene when one inmate attacks another inmate. Unfortunately, over the last two years, multiple inmates have died because of inmate-on-inmate assaults or suicide. Some of the most common injuries caused by Rikers Island violence happen because prison officials failed to intervene and stop the attack. When correctional officers turn a blind eye or are not at their assigned post, beatings can occur. The Eighth Amendment protects against cruel and unusual punishment, including unprovoked and unjustified acts of violence from guards and inmates. When these rights are violated, prisoners can suffer the following injuries:

  • Broken ribs
  • Broken jaw
  • Rape, sexual assault, and disease
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Suffocation 
  • Broken teeth and facial fractures
  • Chemical burns
  • Disfigurement 
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Death

Reach Out to a Rikers Island Attorney Today

If you or your family member has been injured at Rikers Island due to a civil rights violation, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Attorney Michael LoGiudice, LLP has a proven track record of successfully advocating for victims of civil rights abuses. He will carefully review your case and help you take legal action to recover the compensation you deserve. Contact Michael LoGiudice, LLP, today to schedule a free case evaluation. 

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