Civil Rights

Prison Abuse

Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder attorneys Antonio Ponvert and Richard Bieder represent the families of a number of prison inmates and individuals at other state institutions who have been victims of excessive force or the failure of prison officials to recognize and/or properly treat psychiatric conditions.

We have prevailed in many prison abuse cases that involved the death of inmates, either through direct violence by prison guards or by the institution’s failure to prevent suicide.

We don’t take these cases because we are sympathetic to career criminals. These cases are about whether we as a society will allow someone paid with our tax dollars to put on a prison guard uniform and beat an inmate to death.

Prison Guards Performing for the Camera

We successfully represented the family of a 21-year-old man who had a long history of mental illness. He was moved from a psychiatric facility to a prison where he was killed by a group of guards. Knowing that their actions were being videotaped, the guards erased that portion of the tape and then turned the camera back on. They pretended the victim was still alive and resisting their efforts to restrain him. After viewing the tape, the medical examiner concluded that the inmate was dead long before the guards concluded their macabre performance with the inmate’s dead body.

Failure to Prevent Suicide

We have represented the families of many prison inmates and residents of mental health facilities whose suicides could have and should have been prevented. One involved a 48-year old man who had a known propensity for self harm. He was moved from a high-supervision wing to the general population of a facility, where he then committed suicide.

Effecting Change

Since we began pursuing prison abuse claims, we have regularly achieved verdicts and settlements that are more than three times the previous average compensation for prison abuse death cases. Large verdicts and settlements have encouraged prisons to take action to prevent the type of behavior that results in injury and death. We made it a condition of settlement in one suicide case that the institution create suicide-resistant cells.

If your family member was seriously injured or killed because of prison abuse or abuse at a mental health facility, please contact our law firm as soon as possible to arrange a free consultation and case evaluation. Our civil rights lawyers represent clients in prison abuse cases throughout the state.