Reports indicate eleven former (and current) New York City inmates are hoping to use the judicial system to their advantage. They’ve filed a lawsuit against Corrections Commissioner Dora B. Schiro and a number of other city and corrections officials who they say have “created and now perpetuate a policy of permitting uniformed staff to use unlawful, excessive force with impunity.” The prosecutors, represented by the Legal Aid Society and private law firms Ropes & Gray and Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, are seeking class-action status so as to represent the thousands of current New York City inmates already behind bars, as well as future inmates.
The suit points to 11 beatings that resulted in hospitalization, and, in some cases, surgeries. To avoid security cameras, “correction officers routinely escort inmates to unmonitored areas before beating them,” says the prosecution. “The pattern of brutality in the city’s jails is deeply entrenched,” and has previous suits pointed to “a culture of routine and institutionalized staff violence against inmates.”
For their part, corrections officials are sharply critical of the suit. “To suggest, much less allege, that the department condones improper uses of force in any way ignores the reality of the department’s many actions to the contrary,” said spokeswoman Sharman Stein. (Photo: Vince/Flickr)