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Prison Inmate Assaults By Other Prisoners

A prison official’s “deliberate indifference” to a substantial risk of serious harm to an inmate violates the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. A prison official is deliberately indifferent when he knows or should have known of a sufficiently serious danger to an inmate. Prison officials can be sued for treatment a prisoner and the conditions under which he is confined if they are cruel and inhumane. The United States Constitution requires that prison officials ensure that inmates receive adequate food, clothing, shelter, and medical care, and they must take reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of the inmates. The Federal Courts have held that prison officials are responsible to protect prisoners from violence and assaults of other prisoners. Under these laws, correction officers who permit beatings and even prison rape to occur can be sued.

Under New York state law, prison officers can also be held liable for failing to protect prisoners from dangerous inmates. Deliberate indifference and negligence can be proven where corrections officers ignore threats to an inmate, fail to properly classify inmates and separate gang members.

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