“[P]rison officials have a duty . . . to protect prisoners from violence at the hands of other prisoners.” Cortes-Quinones v. Jimenez-Nettleship, 842F.2d 556, 558. With overcrowding and prison budget constraints, inmate on inmate injury claims are on the rise. These claims are generally based on the Eighth Amendment, which forbids cruel and unusual punishment and has been interpreted to protect convicted inmates against assaults by fellow inmates. An inmate who is the victim of an attack by another inmate must prove, as a threshold issue, “deliberate indifference” by prison officials. Farmer v. Brennen, 511 U. S. 825 (1994) defines deliberate indifference as “something more than negligence, but . . . something less than acts or omissions for the very purpose of causing harm or with knowledge that harm will result.”
It should be noted that in order to bring a lawsuit for an inmate attack under the Eighth Amendment, it’s necessary to first exhaust all administrative remedies. “The Prison Litigation Reform Act requires that a prisoner exhaust available administrative remedies before bringing a federal action concerning prison conditions.” Griffin v. Arpaio, 557 F.3d 1117, 1119 (9th Cir. 2009) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a)). This means that an inmate must “complete the administrative review process in accordance with the applicable procedural rules, including deadlines, as a precondition to bringing suit in federal court.” Marella v. Terhune, 568 F.3d 1024, 1027 (9th Cir. 2009) (quoting Ngo, 548 U.S. at 88).
Please contact us if you are a victim or the family of a victim injured as a result of prison violence that should have been prevented by prison officials.