Jailers’ Duty of Care
When jailers fail in their duty to care for individuals entrusted to their custody, jails can become extremely dangerous places for those locked inside. A Tulsa jail injury attorney can help you determine if you or a loved one might be owed compensation for injuries resulting from negligence, indifference, abuse, or violence in an Oklahoma jail.
As a community, we maintain jails to assist in the orderly administration of criminal justice. We trust jailers with a duty to provide a safe, humane environment for people in their custody. Agencies that are indifferent or neglect those duties can be liable for the harm that results.
Circumstances leading to claims against jails or prisons can include overcrowding, failure to adequately train staff, and outsourcing of jail services to companies more concerned about the bottom line than about public duties. Inmates or surviving families may seek compensation or may ask courts to force the jail to provide adequate care.
Courts Recognize Jail and Prison Liability
Until recently, many Oklahoma jails and prisons claimed immunity from lawsuits when jailers used excessive force against people confined to jail. In 2013, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that inmates may file Oklahoma lawsuits when jailers use excessive force that amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. The court also ruled that the agencies that employ jailers can be held liable for personal injuries their employees cause.
Inmates and their families also turn to federal courts for relief when jailers are indifferent to the health and safety of inmates. For example, recent lawsuits against administrators and healthcare contractors at David L. Moss Criminal Justice Center in Tulsa allege deliberate indifference to inmates’ medical needs resulted in the death of several inmates.
The United States Supreme Court in 1994 found that jails or prisons are obligated to provide for the basic needs of inmates:
“[W]hen the State by the affirmative exercise of its power so restrains an individual’s liberty that it renders him unable to care for himself, and at the same time fails to provide for his basic needs – e.g. food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and reasonable safety – it transgresses the substantive limits…[of the Constitution].” Farmer v. Brennen, No. 92-724, 114 S.Ct. 1970 (1994)
Other federal court decisions have defined the obligations of jailers and corrections officials with regard to inmate health, safety and welfare. A Tulsa jail injuries attorney familiar with state and federal tort law and civil rights case law can advise you on the best way to find compensation for injuries or deaths that resulted from neglect, indifference, or malicious treatment in an Oklahoma jail, detention center, prison, or other correctional facility.
Free Consultation: Tulsa Jail Injury Attorney
Jails and prisons are generally presumed to be inconvenient places for those confined inside. That is no excuse for jailers and corrections officials who are indifferent, negligent, or malicious toward those entrusted to their care.
A Tulsa jail injury attorney can help you distinguish between routine inconveniences and circumstances that might warrant legal action. For a free consultation, call the Tulsa jail injuries lawyer 918-879-1681 or ask the Oklahoma injury attorney a question using the form at the top of this page.