For years, California’s prison guards have been frustrated by a growing number of inmate assaults. Now they want their attackers to pay.
Fed up with a prison discipline system they find ineffectual, corrections officers are starting to sue inmates to collect personal damages, reports the Los Angeles Times. The idea is to target any assets the inmates hold outside of prison – or whatever possessions they keep on the inside, such as TVs, hot plates and petty-cash “trust” accounts used to buy snacks.
“It’s about holding these convicted felons accountable for their actions,” state corrections Lt. Charles Hughes wrote on the website of an employees group organizing the suits. “It may be small potatoes to you and me, but ask an inmate if he wants you to own his trust account.”
As news of the strategy spreads around the state, prisoner advocates are deriding it as excessively cruel. Some attorneys say the suits could entangle the courts in a costly web of hearings, appeals and counterclaims.