Rapist Sues Prison After Inmate Attack

A man who was sentenced to 8 1/2 years imprisonment for rape and torture in 2006 is suing the Government for injuries sustained when he was attacked by inmates in prison, reports the Telegraph today.  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/9295044/Psychopath-rapist-sues-Home-Office-after-he-was-attacked-by-prisoners-in-jail.html.

Kennedy Tisson claims that Prison Officers at HMPBrixton deliberately unlocked two prisoners which allowed them to gain entry to his cell and subject him to a violent attack, leaving him with serious eye injuries and psychological damage.  He is purportedly representing himself in an action against the Ministry of Justice (the Telegraph report refers to its old name, the “Home Office”) which has been issued in the High Court.

So in what circumstances can a prisoner sue the Prison Service (as part of the Ministry of Justice) when he is injured by an attack from another inmate in prison?

Prisons are notoriously dangerous places.  Convict a load of violent psychopaths, put them all in a big building together, leave them to get bored and paranoid, and then see what happens.  Carnage.  It happens all the time, and it always will.  So if an inmate gets attacked, by and large there is nothing that they can do about it.

The situation is different if the Prison Service has failed in its general duty of care to prisoners.  Let’s remember at this point that when a person is free and in the outside world they have a duty to look after themselves.  They must look where they are going and take in to account the risks of their own actions.  However, they have no control over, for instance, a car which hurtles towards them whilst they are on a zebra crossing.  The car driver, however, does.  If the driver runs the pedestrian down he is liable for the pedestrian’s injuries. Similarly, if somebody is in your house, you as the homeowner have a duty to try and keep them reasonably safe.

Prisoners still have a responsibility to look after themselves but if they are going to be incarcerated by the Government then the Government has a duty to try and keep them reasonable safe whilst under their control, just like a school has to with its students.  A prisoner is in prison to serve his or her time, not to be electrocuted by wires hanging out of walls, to fall down open manholes, or to be beaten by Prison Officers for no reason.  It is a breach of that duty of care which leads to potential claims against the Prison Service.

The Government does not have to actively prevent Mr Tisson being attacked at all times.  However, they are required to keep him as reasonably safe as possible.  If they are informed that there is likely to be an attack on his person at a specific time by a certain individual, they have to try and reduce his exposure to that risk.  If he is a sex offender he should be given “Vulnerable Prisoner” status and kept on the VP wing.  If he is not, then it is likely that he is being failed in the duty designed to protect him.

And as for deliberately letting other inmates out so that they can attack him?  Well, if that is true, should a democratically elected Government sanction instant justice?  Surely that would be a bigger crime than any an inmate could possibly have committed?

If you believe that you have been wronged by a Government department, such as the Police or Prison Service, call David Mayor for a free consultation on freephone 0800 975 2463, or contact us by email for free expert legal advice.

David Mayor

About David Mayor

David is Head of the Preston Office's Civil Litigation team and deals with all types of private Civil Court disputes. David’s blogs cover his expertise in all aspects of personal injury law from low value Road Traffic Accidents right through to complex large loss claims. David also writes and has a vast array of experience in Public Liability (trips and slips), Employer's Liability (accidents at work), and Motor Claims (motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents).
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