Regardless of the reason one is placed in prison, civil rights still apply to the person incarcerated. Prison guards, nurses and other employed persons providing the oversight, medical attention and other services provided to those in jail are expected to do so with regard to the civil rights of the incarcerated. The use of excessive force or disregarding the safety or health of an inmate is a serious violation and can lead to investigations and potentially serious consequences. One Tennessee inmate was found dead a state prison and the family has filed a wrongful death claim.
The man in question was found dead in his cell in 2013. The coroner at the time performed an autopsy and found the man had broken ribs, a broken collar bone along with additional trauma and serious burns. The coroner ruled the death suspicious.
During interviews, a nurse claimed that the prison guards were torturing certain inmates. When approached by staff, the medical staff along with other care providers were told to keep quiet if they wanted to keep their jobs. This incident was also investigated and found to have no sustenance along with the coroner's report of suspicious death.
The circumstances of the inmate's death appear to be presented in one way and interpreted in another. A Tennessee lawmaker is requesting that the case be reopened as the evidence, according to him, clearly points toward suspicious activity within the prison. The family, with the assistance of an attorney, filed a wrongful death claim against the facility in 2013, which is still unresolved.
Should a Tennessee family find that an incarcerated family member is being mistreated, options to find the truth and seek change can be daunting. An attorney may be able to assist in determining the truth. When mistreatment results in an inmate's apparent wrongful death, legal recourse through the civil justice system may be appropriate.
Source: tennessean.com, "Tennessee lawmaker wants DA to reopen investigation into inmate's death", Dave Boucher, May 3, 2018