Oklahoma Private Prison Litigation Attorney
Private prisons are for-profit prisons, under the ownership of a third party that the government contracts to incarcerate individuals. Private prisons enter into contracts with the government wherein the prison will receive a per-day or per-month payment for each prisoner within the facility, or for each space available. In essence, a private prison is a company that incarcerates people for money.
These companies have worked hard to make it very difficult for inmates to recover damages for injuries the private prison causes. If private prisons violate the rights of inmates, the injured party must overcome significant procedural barriers before he or she can bring the case to court. For this reason, inmates should retain an experienced prison litigation lawyer for assistance. Bryan & Terrill Law can help inmates deal with these complex claims.
Types of Private Prison Negligence
To a private prison, the main goal is making a profit. Private prisons will almost always put profit over the well-being and care of inmates. These prisons may engage in negligent, careless, or dangerous acts in order to save money. For example, they may not maintain an adequate staffing level, leading to overworked or inexperienced staff members who can make mistakes or fail to fulfill accepted quality standards. Private prisons may be guilty of prisoner brutality, negligence in preventing assaults, failure to fulfill a prisoner’s medical needs, or another violation of prisoners’ rights. An attorney can list these rights for you, and help you learn if a private prison has violated them in your case.
The Prison Litigation Reform Act
Even with evidence of a private prison’s negligence or wrongdoing, private prison litigation is not easy. The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) is in place to limit the rights of jail and prison inmates to personal injury claims. The PLRA imposes strict rules and requirements on prisoners who wish to file claims with the state or federal courts. If an inmate manages to satisfy the filing requirements, he or she then has to prove the case. Filing restrictions under the PLRA include:
- Any claim that the courts deem frivolous, improper, or malicious faces imminent dismissal.
- After three case dismissals, the courts will no longer waive the $400 filing fee for inmates. At the scant wages that prison work programs offer inmates, it could take a prisoner years to gather enough money to file the claim.
- Inmates cannot file claims for emotional distress or mental anguish unless there is also evidence of a physical injury.
- Prisoners run the risk of losing “good time” credits if a judge decides that the inmate filed the claim using lies or false information, or for the purpose of harassment.
There are many other hurdles that prisoners must overcome to bring a successful lawsuit against a private prison. An injury attorney can work on behalf of the inmate’s best interests, helping him or her understand and protect his/her legal rights. An attorney can also take care of the filing process and greatly improve the prisoner’s chances of a successful lawsuit and damage recovery. Our lawyers have the ability to help inmates go up against private prisons in Oklahoma. For more information, submit our client intake form.