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Failure to Protect Claim in Indiana Jail

Indiana Jail Failure to Protect Claim 

You or a family member were severely injured in an assault while in Jail, and you want to know if you can bring a civil rights claim against the jail.

Typical Facts in an Indiana failure to Protect Claim 

These claims arise in a number of ways. In the first scenario, a person in jail is being harassed, threatened, or fears for the their safety for some reason. The person notifies the jail guards or jail administrative staff, and they do nothing to protect the person. The person is attacked by a fellow inmate and is injured or killed.

In the second scenario, another inmate is clearly a bad actor, and should be placed in a secure unit but the Guard doesn't really care and improperly assigns the “bad actor” with non-violent offenders. Some folks explain this type of failure to protect claim as the guard placed a lion or wolf with a lamb.

In the third scenario, a jail guard or jail staff sees an inmate being harassed or assaulted and just lets it happen. This person fails to intervene, and because of the failure to act, the inmate is injured or killed.

What Does The Constitution/Law Say About a Failure to Protect Claim?

Generally, jail guards and jail officials have a duty to protect detainees from violence at the hand of other inmates. However, in the Seventh Circuit, which covers Indiana, you also have to show that the Jail Guard knew of the problem, understood the risks, and chose to do nothing. In other words, the Guard knew the inmate was going to be attacked and said “so what” “I don't give a hoot” “F” it!

Here is an idea of how our appellate court characterizes failure to protect cases:

A typical deliberate indifference claim asserts that a defendant-custodian failed to take protective action after a plaintiff-detainee complained of a feared threat posed by rival gang members or a specific feared person… Another common fact pattern found in our failure to protect cases finds deliberate indifference arising out of improper cell assignments, where the defendant custodian places an unwitting detainee in a cell with another detainee whom the custodian knows to have certain violent propensities… In these types of cases, the victim and assailant are readily identifiable, and the custodian's deliberate indifference is based upon knowledge of a clearly particularized risk.

Do You Have a Failure to Protect Case?

As you can see, these failure to protect claims are very fact specific. Above sets out the general law, so you can apply you or your family member's circumstances to the law. If you have any questions about bringing a civil rights claim after being assaulted in an Indiana Jail, call Guy DiMartino Law.

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