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Jail and Prison Deaths and Abuse

Fact: Voters don’t know or don’t care about what goes on in our jails and penitentiaries except in the rare cases when an inmate dies and the media reports it.

Fact: Courts are reluctant to interfere with operations of jails.

Fact: Prosecutors rarely indict corrections officers (or police officers or federal law enforcement agents) for excessive use of force.

Fact: Quality medical care for prisoners is practically nonexistent. Many prisoners die or suffer needless pain or disfigurement because of the grossly sub-standard or nonexistent medical care.

Fact: The lack of privacy in many jails, routinely force inmates, many of whom are presumed by law to be innocent since they are awaiting trial, to use the toilet in full view of other inmates, often in the midst of the beds where inmates sleep and spend countless hours. It is part of the process of degrading and dehumanizing inmates.

Fact: Filth in jails is commonplace.

Fact: Corrections officers seldom care about the well-being of the inmates they are paid to supervise. Inmates are often treated in a degrading manner – sometimes in front of their relatives who visit them.

Fact: Education of jail guards is usually limited to high school. (The new chief of Florida’s Department of Corrections graduated high school and completed one semester at a community college. He is in charge of over 22,000 employees and a budget of over 2 billion dollars. He was appointed chief after rising in rank through the department in spite of documented instances of sadistic and cruel treatment of inmates by guards, unexplained deaths of inmates, repeated security breaches and nonexistent or substandard medical care for inmates. Such promotions are typical.)

Fact: Discipline for jail guards – euphemistically called corrections officers – who abuse inmates is almost non-existent.

Fact: Jail guards often “look the other way” when inmate abuse by fellow guards and by inmates take place.

Fact: When corrections officers (like police officers) are caught committing crimes, they often receive sweetheart plea offers and minimal punishment. Jail internal affairs investigations are about as effective as local police and FBI internal affairs investigations.

Fact: Many inmates throughout our nation are kept in solitary confinement in state and federal corrections facilities under conditions that most of us would consider unacceptable for our pets. The solitary confinement cells, known by inmates as “the Hole” and called “special housing units” (SHU) by the jailers, house inmates for months and sometimes years without any relief from the courts.

Fact: Gangs often operate with impunity in our jails and penitentiaries. Lack of proper supervision is common as is sexual and physical abuse of inmates.

Fact: Boredom and cruel treatment of prisoners are daily occurrences in our jails and prisons. Newspaper articles in Florida and throughout the nation recount the horrific abuse that inmates often endure in our jails and prisons.

Fact: Many jails are privately owned and paid by states and the federal government to incarcerate inmates. As money making institutions, they do all they can to save money – and spend as little as possible on the inmates’ food, medical care, classes, etc. However, I have seen clients in some private jails which are superior in almost every way to county, state or federal jails.

Fact: Inmates who are awaiting trial are treated as bad as or worse than convicted inmates.

Fact: Marriages and relationships between inmates and their partners are very difficult to maintain because of limited and difficult visitation, and the lack of conjugal visits.

Fact: Visitors are often kept waiting for hours before being allowed to visit with an inmate. Rude treatment of visitors is commonplace in many jails.

If you or someone you care about is in custody or about to begin their sentence, it is important that they retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney to keep in contact with them throughout their incarceration.

A criminal defense lawyer can help an inmate get designated to the better institutions and to a halfway house as soon as they qualify.

A knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer can review sentences to look for errors and to be certain that all “credit for time served” before the sentence begins is credited to the inmate.

Local, state and federal corrections facilities all have different rules and procedures applicable to inmates. A good criminal attorney is aware of these rules and regulations which can be used to protect and benefit inmates. Intervention by a lawyer is often the difference between an inmate getting medical care or being placed in a safer cell and disaster.

If I may be of service to you, call my law offices at (305) 670-9919.

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