Does an inmate have any legal ground to hold a facility/county responsible if they are attacked by another inmate?

My brother was recently incarcerated in a county jail, he was jumped in the rec yard by another inmate, who stabbed him in the eye with a sharpened plastic utensil. His eye is going to be removed this week, due to the injuries. He was not the aggressor, did not receive any additional charges/punishment and the offender received a first degree felony assault.

Asked on August 29, 2014 under Personal Injury, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The facility cannot stop all criminal violence by determined inmates, but is expected to take reasonable steps to prevent or minimize it. The issue then is whether the facility was doing the reasonable things to protect your brother or not. If there were threats against him, if the inmate who attacked him had a record of other attacks or in-jail violence, or if the facility was generally lax about supervisiing inmates and/or weapons checks, they may be liable. On the other hand, if they were doing everything normally or reasonably expected of a jail and despite that, there was an unforeseen attack, they'd probably not be liable.


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