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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 72614 Find in a Library
Title: Dilemma of Individual Violence in Prisons
Journal: New England Journal on Prison Law  Volume:6  Issue:2  Dated:(Summer 1980)  Pages:195-230
Author(s): C C Carriere
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 36
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Prison violence and inmate safety are explored through discussion of recent study findings, and the legal standard employed in instances wherein prisoners are assaulted, murdered, or commit suicide is highlighted.
Abstract: Violence and death have become integral parts of prison life today. Research in the area of individual inmate violence has been inadequate, primarily because of the inmate 'code of silence' and the lack of accurate record keeping by prison authorities. According to the American Correctional Association's July 1974 survey of prisons, there were 454 violent deaths within the nation's prisons and 67 reported suicides among probationers and parolees. California, which at that time had the largest prison population, expectedly led the way statistically with the largest number of prison murders and overall prison deaths. New York reported the largest number of suicides. In general, southern States appeared to have higher violence rates than other areas of the country. Theorists fail to agree on the cause of individual inmate violence. They attribute it to the violent nature of inmates, or to prison construction affording inadequate inmate protection, or to the tension of prison life. Nevertheless, prisoners have a constitutional right to be reasonably protected from constant threats of violence and sexual assault under the Federal Tort Claims Act, the Civil Rights Statute, and under negligence, wrongful death, and State tort claims acts provisions. Generally, to be able to recover, a petitioner has the burden of proving that the Government or State was negligent in the exercise of its responsibilities. Several factors are considered in deciding whether an inmate or his representatives should recover for personal injuries or wrongful death, and the burden of proof on the petitioner is great. Recent court decisions indicate that class actions tend to be more successful than cases involving individual incidents of claimed negligence or unconstitutionality. It is suggested that future research focus on empirical study and extensive comparative analysis of prison violence. Footnotes with references are included.
Index Term(s): Prison disorders; Prisoner's rights; Studies; Violence; Violent inmates; Violent offenders
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