Sexual Assault In Prisons

How Can a Prison Sexual Assault Lawyer Help You Recover?

If you were sexually assaulted in prison, a lawsuit against the perpetrator and the institution can compensate you for your losses and afford the help needed to heal.

The power imbalances in a prison, jail, or correctional facility mean there is no consensual sexual contact between prisoners and the guards or staff. Similarly, sexual violations between prisoners should be prevented by proper incarceration procedures. If you or a loved one has experienced sexual assault in a correctional facility, what happened is unacceptable, and you may be entitled to compensation. 

An experienced prison sexual assault lawyer can help you recover from the harm you have suffered and hold the perpetrators and enablers accountable for their violations. By choosing to pursue a lawsuit, you can reassert your rights, help remove predators from positions of power, and access funds that can provide you with a brighter, more stable future.

Jessica Pride and our team of attorneys are dedicated to helping survivors of sexual assault seek justice. Our clients include women, men, teenagers, children, and families who deserve to be heard, believed, and substantially compensated for the harm they’ve suffered at the hands of abusers. To explore your legal options, contact our San Diego offices at (619) 516-8166 to speak with our compassionate, knowledgeable attorneys. 

For more information on how a prison sexual assault lawyer can help you recover, read on.

What Are the Harms Associated With Prison Sexual Assault?

Prison sexual assault can cause significant and long-term harm to survivors, both physically and emotionally. Here are some of the harms associated with prison sexual assault:

  • Physical injuries: Sexual assault can cause physical injuries from the attack, and may also contract sexually transmitted infections or become pregnant as a result of the assault.
  • Emotional distress: Sexual assault can have a profound impact on a person’s emotional well-being, especially when they are already in a stressful prison environment and isolated from loved ones. Survivors may experience anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other persistent mental health issues.
  • Loss of trust: Sexual assault can cause victims to lose trust in others, especially authority figures. This understandable mistrust can cause further isolation and lead to harmful coping mechanisms detailed in the following point.
  • Substance abuse: Survivors of sexual assault may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with their trauma, which can lead to addiction and other negative consequences. Treating a drug addiction in prison can be difficult or impossible, and leaving prison with an addiction makes it harder to maintain your independence on parole.
  • Suicide: Victims of sexual assault are at a higher risk of suicide than the general population. The trauma of sexual assault can be overwhelming, and many survivors struggle with feelings of hopelessness and despair.

These are just some of the harms associated with prison sexual assault. It is important to seek help if you or a loved one has experienced sexual assault in a correctional facility. A prison sexual assault lawyer can be part of that help, as we can handle the work associated with case building so you can prioritize your physical health and mental peace.

Sexual assaults in prisons are often part of a pattern or “culture” of abuse.  Incidents may be part of repeated, cyclical violations that can cause lasting psychological damage among multiple inmates.  When just one person speaks out, it can uncover underlying conspiracies, and encourage more survivors to come forward and find justice.

What Does a Prison Sexual Assault Attorney Do to Help Survivors?

Our prison sexual assault lawyers help survivors by:

  • Providing reassurance: The emotional support that comes from knowing you are not alone. There is a real, viable path through this difficult time to a satisfactory case resolution, and knowing that can be a profound relief to many clients. If you feel overwhelmed, scared, or hopeless, our compassionate attorneys can provide proven, verifiable guidance on how to move forward.
  • Investigating the incident: Our prison sexual assault attorneys can conduct a thorough investigation of the incident by legally demanding (with a subpoena) internal camera footage, reports, and guard schedules from the correctional facility. We can also secure evidence by taking witness statements, and building a strong case against the perpetrator(s) of the assault.
  • Advocating for the survivor: A prison sexual assault attorney can be a strong advocate for the survivor, both in and out of the courtroom. We can work with law enforcement, correctional facilities, and other agencies to ensure that the survivor's rights are protected.
  • Pursuing legal action: We can handle settlement discussions on your behalf, negotiate potential insurance claims, and present your case before a judge or jury if necessary to secure justice. 
  • Calculating and securing compensation: In order to demand damages, we must document your injuries and losses in financial terms. Our prison sexual assault attorneys may consult experts to accurately account for your medical expenses (past and future), lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

These are just some of the ways that the prison sexual assault lawyers at Jessica Pride’s law firm can help our clients. If you or a loved one has experienced sexual assault in prison, it is important to seek the help of a qualified attorney with proven success in the area of sexual assault litigation.

Jessica Pride represents several survivors of sexual assault at the Federal Correctional Institute (FCI) in Dublin, California. She makes it clear in press releases related to the case that sexual assault and rape are not part of serving time after a criminal conviction. If you need a strong advocate on your side to help protect your reputation as you seek the justice you deserve, contact our law firm online or by calling (619) 516-8166 for a free, fully confidential consultation.

Can You Sue Over Sexual Assault in Jail?

Generally, yes. If you were sexually assaulted while in someone else’s custody and thus under their care, you have the ability to sue them for that violation or for negligently allowing it to happen.

While the terms "jail" and "prison" are often used interchangeably, there are some key differences between the two:

  • Jails are typically used to hold individuals who are awaiting trial or sentencing, or who have been sentenced to a short term of incarceration. Jails are typically operated by local governments, such as counties or municipalities, and are usually smaller in size than prisons. Inmates in jails may include individuals who have been arrested for minor offenses, such as traffic violations, as well as those who have been charged with more serious crimes.
  • Prisons are long-term correctional facilities used to house individuals who have been convicted of a crime and sentenced to a term of incarceration. Prisons are typically operated by state or federal governments, and are often larger in size than jails. Inmates in prisons have usually been convicted of more serious crimes, such as felonies.

While both jails and prisons are intended to hold individuals who have been accused or convicted of a crime, there are some significant differences in terms of the length of incarceration, the severity of the offenses for which inmates are being held, and the types of programs and services that are available to inmates. It is important for your lawyer to factor in these differences when considering the issue of sexual assault in correctional facilities.

Contact an Experienced Attorney for Correctional Facility Sexual Assault

While jail and prison sentences are intended to punish those convicted of crimes, under no circumstances should those consequences include sexual assault, abuse, or rape. Prisoners should never lose the inherent human rights and dignities we are all entitled to, and that includes freedom from sexual violence.

Jessica Pride offers legal assistance at San Diego’s only domestic violence and rape crisis center, the Center for Community Solutions, and provides leadership by serving as President of its Board of Directors. She is an active volunteer in the community, and recognized for her achievements in civil law for sexual assault and abuse survivors across age ranges and genders. Jessica and her team have helped hundreds of survivors heal, find peace through justice, and recover their power.

Contact our experienced prison sexual assault lawyers to find the best path forward for you. We can be reached online or by phone at (619) 415-8822 for a free, confidential consultation. A prison sentence does not forfeit your fundamental rights — let us help you seek justice and hold abusers and enabling institutions accountable. Your decision to pursue a lawsuit today could help restore your personal strength, and improve treatment for other incarcerated individuals just like you.

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Prison Sexual Assault FAQs

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How many people are sexually assaulted in prison?

According to a recent Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) survey of Federal and State inmates, an estimated 60,500 inmates report experiencing sexual violations while incarcerated during a one-year period. The incidents reported ranged from unwanted touching to nonconsensual sex (rape).

The data notes that those abused were generally younger than their assailants, and that mentally ill or intellectually impaired inmates were more likely to be assaulted. The study also points out that cellblocks with solid cell fronts may contribute to sexual assault by providing privacy and sound-dampening that hides the attack. This kind of information can help your lawyer pinpoint liability for negligent protection and supervision practices in prisons.

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What kind of compensation is available in prison sexual assault civil cases?

By filing a civil personal injury lawsuit for incidents of prison sexual assault, your compensation could cover various losses. Examples include medical bills for all hospital, clinic, therapeutic, or follow-up care. Any lost wages or unemployment associated with the assault, or pain and suffering experienced, may also be valued and awarded in a settlement or verdict.

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Can I sue for prison sexual assault on behalf of my deceased loved one?

Certain family members like spouses, children, or parents of a deceased individual may be able to sue on their behalf. If your loved one lost their life due to a sexual attack in prison, or later due to circumstances related to the assault (like suicide caused by trauma-linked depression), you may be able to sue for their pain and suffering while alive, and for wrongful death damages to cover your own financial and emotional losses.

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Can you sue the prison management for sexual assault while incarcerated?

In many circumstances, yes, you can sue the government entity or private management company that runs the correctional facility. 

Prisons by definition limit the freedom and control you have over your own body. Similar institutions like rehab centers, mental health facilities, nursing homes, and certain labor conditions associated with immigrant workers create vulnerable populations and can attract abusers. Because of this known danger, these institutions must take actions to protect you from abuse and assault — when they fail, you may be able to sue for negligence. Contact the offices of Jessica Pride at (619) 516-8166 to discuss your legal options.

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– Client of Jessica Pride –

“I am also hopeful and beyond grateful that my voice is being heard! So I want to say thank you Jessica and Christy, for giving me a voice when I felt mine didn’t matter. You guys are truly angels fighting a great cause. I am forever grateful! Thank you so much!”

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