In an opinion released today in Wright v. Stanley, the Tenth Circuit held that a jury could find that two jailers acted recklessly when they placed an arrestee into an already overcrowded cell while they looked for another place for him. The inmates in the cell told the jailers that five minutes “won’t work.”
After placing the arrestee in the cell, the inmates promptly assaulted him causing an orbital fracture that required outside medical care– a barbaric but effective method of reducing the cell population.
The Tenth Circuit held that the jailers had alternatives available to them besides placing the arrestee in the cell. Most obviously, walking him back to the booking desk to look for alternative housing.
The case further demonstrates that jailers have an affirmative constitutional obligation to protect arrestees from inmate on inmate violence, and that a failure to take reasonable steps in response to an active threat can give rise to liability under the federal civil rights statute.
If you have questions about jail conditions, assaults, or conditions of confinement, contact the attorneys at Bryan & Terrill Law, 918-935-2777.
*Disclaimer: the law firm of Bryan & Terrill Law, PLLC represents the appellee in the matter.