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Can I Sue Over COVID-19 Protocols in Jail?

Federal funding was explicitly designated for jails and prisons to fight COVID-19. However, there are now several lawsuits pending against these facilities claiming they did not take care of people incarcerated during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are suffering long-term effects from COVID-19 and you contracted the virus in jail, contact the team at HDR Law. We are passionate about your rights and aim to have justice served.

Prisoner Rights

Whether in jail or prison, those who are incarcerated still have basic human rights that must be met. Those rights include:

  • Free from cruel and unusual punishment - this is everyone’s eighth amendment right. No one, whether they are imprisoned or not, should face punishments that are considered inhumane or a violation of a person’s basic dignity.
  • Free from sexual harassment - no one should be forced to take part in sexual acts that are against their will.
  • Jail or prison conditions - the conditions where a prisoner is occupied should be livable and free from danger.
  • Medical and mental health care - prisoners should have access to proper medical and mental health care while incarcerated.
  • Discrimination - no one should be excluded from certain activities or privileges based upon their race, sex, religious affiliation, or sexual identity, to name a few.

How Does COVID-19 Come Into Play?

If jails or prisons did not do their best to protect prisoners from COVID-19, that could be grounds for a lawsuit. The Federal Bureau of Prisons has an interactive map that shows current cases of COVID-19 in prisons. According to the website, more than 40,000 prisoners were diagnosed and have now recovered from COVID-19, but many others have not been so lucky.

In March 2020, more than $100 million was designated by Congress to fight COVID-19 in prisons. However, actions were not implemented quickly enough to keep prisoners safe according to several lawsuits (Graham et al v. Allegheny County et al; Louisiana Federal Correctional Institutions Class Action Lawsuit; Cook County Jail COVID-19 Federal Lawsuit).

If you or a loved one was incarcerated, developed COVID-19 while incarcerated, and now have long-term side effects because of the virus, you should consult with an attorney right away. The team at HDR Law will fight for you and work hard for your case. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.