Spending time in a New York jail could be dangerous, and inmates rely on guards to enforce rules that promote safety. Unfortunately, controversies might arise when guards become derelict in their duties. Not taking steps to break up “fight nights” organized by inmates may leave the prison system open to a civil lawsuit while potentially exposing authorities to claims of civil rights violations.
Fight night at a New York jail
Cellphones and other compact devices make it easier to film events, including those situations that may incriminate others. At Riker’s Island jail in New York, video footage captured an organized fight between inmates. The reward would be a cigarette, and any perceived rewards required taking great risks. In an unsanctioned fight, the participants could suffer grave harm.
So, questions arise about why guards did not intervene to stop the “event.” The video reveals a corrections officer watching the fight and allowing it to continue. Once the video went public, other claims of abuse and mistreatment emerged. Any evidence that proves such claims could lead to legal consequences.
Civil rights violations
Not protecting inmates could be a violation of their civil rights. If corrections officers fail to take action when dangerous activities occur, victims may take action with a lawsuit.
Civil rights violations might involve more than claims of abuse. Not providing adequate food or living conditions may do so as well. Upon filing a lawsuit, the defendant could rely on the discovery process to uncover further evidence that supports his or her allegations.
Police or corrections officers who look the other way or contribute to the violations may find themselves in significant trouble. Some behaviors could rise to the level of criminal negligence.