Physical Abuse of Prisoners

PRP has been challenging brutality by City jail staff since its inception in 1971. It has prevailed, by trial or by settlement, in four class actions concerning excessive force at particular jails, and has obtained court orders requiring improved measures to train and supervise jail staff, investigate violent incidents, and discipline staff who abuse prisoners or who enable abuse by other staff. However, PRP learned that the Department of Correction does not roll out reform, but quarantines it; excessive and injurious force continued at the other jails. So PRP brought suit about excessive force at the other jails in the Ingles case, which was settled in 2006 for damage awards to the named plaintiffs and the City’s agreement to revise its guidelines on when and how guards may use force, post hundreds of new video cameras in the jails, overhaul its procedures for investigating violent incidents, and provide more training for guards in how to reduce injuries when restraining inmates. PRP staff has completed a three and a half-year period of monitoring these measures’ implementation as well as the actual practice of jail staff in using force against prisoners, and continues to monitor complaints from prisoners and their families.