Violence And Abuse

Nearly every week, the Southern Center for Human Rights receives a letter or call from a person who has been assaulted, stabbed, or raped in prison or jail. Sometimes the violent incident has been perpetrated by a fellow prisoner. Other times, the abuse was at the hands of officers. At many of our prisons and jails, men and women live in constant fear of violence.

Too often, prison administrators tolerate high levels of violence of their facilities, excusing it as an inevitable consequence of life in prison.

SCHR has challenged these unconstitutional conditions in the following cases:

In 2013, SCHR and Hunton & Williams LLP, filed MacClain v Owens, et al., on behalf of a mother, RaHonda MacClain, whose son was killed at Hays State Prison. The civil rights lawsuit alleges that Damion MacClain was beaten and strangled to death by other incarcerated men  who-because of lack of supervision, broken cell-door locks long ignored by the Defendants and to the dangerous conditions-were able to leave their cells in the middle of the night, assault Mr. MacClain, and kill him.

Nwakanma, et al. v Clark, et al., was filed by SCHR and Hunton & Williams LLP on behalf of four men who were beaten by officers while handcuffed at Hays State Prison in Trion, GA. The case was filed in 2011 and was settled in  2012.

Hicks v Hetzel, was filed on behalf of people incarcerated at Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer, Alabama that were subject to stabbings and beatings that left them with slit throats, punctured livers, pierced lungs, partial blindness, paralysis, and other injuries due to prison overcrowding and lack appropriate security measures. The case was filed in 2009 and was settled in 2011.

SCHR and King & Spalding LLP brought attention to the deplorable conditions at Lee Arrendale State Prison in Alto, GA after the rape and murder of 18 year old Wayne Boatwright, Jr. in 2004. In the six months following Wayne’s death, the Southern Center documented over fifty further violent incidents, including rapes, stabbings, and beatings by officers. (click here).

Barksdale v Holt, a case involving an in-custody death under suspicious circumstances at Kilby Correctional Facility in St. Meigs, Alabama was filed in 2008.

Fluellen v Donald, a class action lawsuit regarding excessive use of force against incarcerated men with mental disabilities at Phillips State Prison in Buford, Georgia was filed in 2002.