Attacked while in the same unit/cell block as non-sentenced inmate...

by Anonymous
(Maryland)

My husband was sentenced on Thursday December 28 2015, and has not been moved to a unit/block with other sentenced inmates. He is at a jail in Frederick county Maryland. He has an 18 month sentence with 6 months already served.

On Sunday when it was his time to use the phone, another inmate confronted him claiming it was his turn. There wasn't a Corrections Officer on the unit at the time. The other inmate punched my husband about 3 times in the face, which led to him bleeding extensively and bandages applied to his face.

There was so much blood on his sandals that they had to be thrown away. My husband only threw warm coffee at his attacker in self defense. My husband is now in the medical unit and is not receiving proper care. His bandage became wet and fell off and has not been replaced. He has not even received aspirin for the pain.

Our question is, it legal to house sentenced and non-sentenced prisoners in the same block/unit? Do we have any case against the institution where he is detained? What about a case against the other inmate that attacked him? Thank you so much for your time and information!

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Attacked while in the same unit/cell block as non-sentenced inmate...":

Anonymous (Maryland):

The State of Washington refers to inmates as "offenders." The policy for the housing of offenders in Maryland is dependent upon the specific incarceration facility. Without knowing which facility your husband is housed in, it is impossible to know what the policies for his facility are.

However, The State of Maryland Department of Public Safety has a means by which offenders and their families can file grievances related to any number of offender incarceration matters. To file a grievance you or your husband can contact:

Inmate Grievance Office
Ph#: 410-585-3840
6776 Reisterstown Rd
Suite 200A
Baltimore, MD 21215

For more information about offender family matters go to:
Maryland.Gov - Department of Public Safety

The Housing Facility and Sovereign Immunity

Your husband likely does not have a viable injury claim against the housing facility. Government agencies, especially law enforcement agencies, are protected by the legal doctrine of sovereign immunity. Under sovereign immunity, government agencies and their employees are immune from lawsuits by third parties, so long as the employees are acting within the scope of their normal work duties.

Gross Negligence and a Wanton Disregard for the Safety and Well-being of an Offender

There is an exception to sovereign immunity. If it can be proved the government agency or its employees were grossly negligent, or displayed a wanton disregard for your husband’s safety and well-being, the immunity may be waived. From the facts you present, there is no evidence of gross negligence or a wanton disregard for your husband's safety. Therefore he likely does not have a legitimate claim against the housing facility.

The Aggressive Offender

Your husband does have a right to pursue the aggressive offender who assaulted him. Because your husband didn't have to pay any medical bills, out of pocket expenses, or lost wages, his only recourse would be to sue the offender for pain and suffering. It is unlikely the inmate will agree to pay. At that point your husband will have to sue him.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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