Oklahoma Jail Litigation Lawyer
Incarcerated criminals lose many rights, but the right to personal safety is not one of them. In Oklahoma, jails must abide by laws and regulations for the care of convicted criminals. Jails owe inmates certain duties of care. These include the duty to protect inmates from assault and the duty not to brutalize inmates.
Negligent jails, or those with staff members who intentionally brutalize incarcerated individuals, may be liable for the victim’s damages. If you believe you have a claim against an Oklahoma jail for a personal injury or wrongful death, you need an attorney’s help. The lawyers at Bryan & Terrill Law can give you honest, dependable advice and representation for these types of claims.
Laws Limiting the Rights of Incarcerated Individuals to Litigation
By nature, individuals in jails have plenty to complain about. Tight quarters, subpar food, not enough exercise…the list is endless. This is simply the nature of incarceration, however, and typically will not constitute grounds for a lawsuit. To prevent inmates from being able to file “frivolous” lawsuits, the federal government passed the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) in 1997. The PLRA allows correctional officers to remedy problems prior to the inmate going to the courts. Its goal is to reduce frivolous litigation and decrease the caseload on local courts.
Under the PLRA, for an inmate to have grounds to sue a jail, the jail must have first exhausted all available administrative remedies. This means an inmate must wait to file a claim while the jail tries to remedy the problem. Failure to adhere to the strict exhaustion requirement could result in the courts dismissing the case. The PLRA also has a three-dismissal rule. If the courts dismiss three of an inmate’s claims, the inmate will have to pay the $400 filing fee for a subsequent claim. Not many inmates have the means to pay these fees. Since the passing of PLRA, fewer inmates have won cases and settlements.
There are some circumstances, however, where inmates retain the right to litigation. Inmates have several basic rights that jails cannot infringe upon. These include the right to humane facilities, the right to be free from sexual crimes and racial segregation, the right to complain about conditions, the right to medical and mental health care, and the right to a hearing prior to moving to a mental health facility. If a facility or staff member violates any of these rights, resulting in harm to the inmate, the inmate may have grounds for jail litigation.
How to Sue from Inside an Oklahoma Jail
It is always a good idea to retain an attorney for cases that name a jail or staff member as the defendant. If you or someone you know is trying to pursue a claim against an Oklahoma jail for violation of inmates’ rights, get an experienced attorney to assist you. These claims are complex and difficult to win. The civil rights lawyers at Bryan & Terrill Law have experience helping jail and prison inmates go up against facilities for personal injuries and wrongs. Contact our team or call (918) 935-2777 for a consultation.