Monday, October 31, 2011

Challenging Constitutional Violations in Private Prisons

The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in a case tomorrow morning regarding the liability of employees of private prisons in instances where a prisoners' rights have been violated.  The case, Minneci v. Pollard, calls into question whether or not employees of private companies who contract with the government can be held personally responsible for violating constitutional rights in the line of duty.  The case revolves around a prisoner who broke both his elbows while working in a prison, then was repeatedly forced to perform awkward and painful movements by prison staff, violating his right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment (the 8th Amendment to the Constitution).  The prisoner wants to sue the employees of the GEO Group, which operates the prison, for monetary damages for violating his right.

That first link goes to an analysis of the case from the SCOTUS Blog, which is pretty thorough and dense but a good read if you can get through it.  Here's a more succinct summary from the Wall Street Journal.

Arguments are scheduled for 11:00am.  The Court is not expected to release a decision on the case until sometime next year.

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