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Prison rape in Colorado – How can a lawyer help you

Denver, CO – The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), which went into effect in 2003, was meant to eradicate sexual abuse in the correctional facilities in the state of Colorado. However, many inmates still suffer from sexual abuse by staff members or fellow inmates. According to the 2020 PREA Annual Report, during the 12 months covered there were dozens of complaints from inmates who were raped or sexually abused while in detention. 

Let’s have a look at the numbers.

In 2020, there were 40 complaints of sexual abuse against staff members. Of these, 11 were found to be substantiated, 9 were unsubstantiated and in 20 cases it was ruled that the charges were unfounded. 

Of the 67 complaints of sexual abuse perpetrated by fellow inmates, only 5 were ruled in favor of the victim. 

Sexual abuse is a violation of an inmate’s civil rights, but, as the figures show, proving these types of charges is quite a challenge.

If you or a family member were subjected to sexual abuse in a Colorado correctional facility, you need to get in touch with a seasoned jail and prison litigation attorney in Denver

The most important part of such a case is gathering proof to support your claims. As the report indicates, in many cases the victim did not manage to present enough evidence.

Nine of the complaints against guards were declared unsubstantiated. This means that the victim did submit proof of the sexual abuse they had suffered, but not enough to very the allegations. If the charges are deemed unfounded, this means that the victim did not present any credible evidence. 

Can an inmate file a civil rights lawsuit?

Inmates can certainly file a civil rights lawsuit, but, unfortunately, it’s a very long process. According to the Prison Litigation Act, inmates must go through the administrative complaint process before they can file a lawsuit. You cannot sue a prison guard or any other official until you have exhausted the administrative route. 

What you have to do is file a grievance with the facility’s administration, wait for a response and, if necessary, file an appeal. However, if prison officials fail to respond in the amount of time stated on the grievance form, you may consider this a denial and file an appeal right away. 

You or your family can consult with a civil rights lawyer in the meantime. Getting a lawyer involved early on will allow them to build a strong case and there will be someone watching that your rights are respected.

What are the rights of prison rape victims in Colorado?

When you are a victim of sexual abuse, it’s much more serious than complaining about living conditions or similar problems. The Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) itself provides help through a free, confidential rape crisis hotline. Victims can also receive mental health counseling.

The most important thing is having a sexual assault nurse examiner perform a forensic medical exam, which will be needed if you were raped by a guard or inmate. This is something that cannot wait. If the prison administration does not bring in a qualified nurse for that purpose, have a family member talk to a knowledgeable lawyer right away. According to the law you have the right to report an incident of this type to an agency outside CDOC. Also, if you accuse a guard of rape your situation will be monitored by the Victim Rights Coordinator to make sure the administration does not retaliate against you. 

If you were a victim of any type of sexual abuse in a Colorado jail or prison, you should contact an experienced civil rights lawyer at the Bryan&Terrill law firm in Denver to help you file a lawsuit.

Contact info:

Bryan & Terrill

333 W. Hampden Ave., #420B

Englewood, CO 80110

(720) 923-2333

Source: Colorado Department of Corrections Prison Rape Elimination Act 2020 Annual Report

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