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Prison Officials' Liability for Inmate-to-Inmate Assault: A Review of Case Law

NCJ Number
Journal of Offender Rehabilitation Volume: 25 Issue: 1/2 Dated: 1997 Pages: 1-30
Michael S. Vaughn
Date Published
30 pages
This article discusses civil liability under Title 42 of the United States Code, Section 1983 of prison officials for inmate-against-inmate assault.
It examines Farmer v. Brennan, a 1994 case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on inmate assault. It also analyzes 44 pre-Farmer cases decided in the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals. Two categories of cases provide the framework for the analysis: (1) the absence of intervention by prison officials to prevent inmate assaults; and (2) permitting inmate access to potential weapons used in inmate assaults. Twenty-seven post-Farmer cases on inmate-against-inmate assault are cited to outline the parameters under which prison officials might be held liable in post-Farmer litigation. It concludes with observations about the prospective impact and policy implications of the Farmer decision. Notes, references, and cases cited