Inmate Assault Discussion
Read the case study and prepare to discuss the questions that follow.
A case wherein an inmate assaults another inmate causing severe brain hemorrhage in the victim.
The inmate also kicks a corrections officer who is trying to stop the assault causing a large contusion on his leg that is treated at the scene by prison medics.The victim ultimately recovers with no long lasting damage but not after extensive rehabilitation.
The inmate is incarcerated on a murder conviction and is serving a 15-year-to-life sentence.He is up for parole in six months after having served 20 years on that conviction.He is charged with felonious assault on the inmate and assault on a corrections officer.He is facing an additional 11 years in prison if he receives the maximum sentence.
The inmate victim comes forward and does not want to testify for fear of retribution in prison due to the defendant’s gang affiliation in the prison system.The corrections officer does not want to testify because he just recently started a new shift and does not want the stigma of being a weak corrections officer.The prosecutor is therefore forced to plea bargain the case down to the lowest level felony offense and the inmate gets an additional 12 months in prison.He will be eligible for parole again within one year.
¾How does the prosecutor justify resolving this case with a 12-month plea?Does this sentence agree with the principles and purposes of the criminal justice system?Is there a way to make either victim whole in this case?
¾How can we protect corrections officers from these types of incidents or should they just be considered a hazard of the job?If these incidents are a hazard of the job then should they ever be charged as a crime?Should it legally be a crime at all?
¾Does the prison have a way to deal with the fear of gang violence in this type of situation?If so, how?
¾Should inmates expect physical violence within the prison system?If so why charge the crime?
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