What Prison Abuse Looks Like in New York

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New legislation, the Adult Survivors Act, passed in May and effective as of November 24, 2022, will allow survivors of sexual abuse by prison guards to take legal action regardless of how much time has passed since the abuse. The new law gives adult survivors/abused inmates of sexual assault one year to file lawsuits against their perpetrators, which may include prison guards, correctional officers, prison officials, and other inmates and prison staff.

Anticipation is that female prisoners will file a flood of lawsuits with the statute of limitation lifted during this one-year window, according to an article in The New York Times. Allegations of physical abuse, rape, sexual abuse, severe beatings, solitary confinement, violence, and other prison guard abuse that occurred in the 1980s and 1990s have already come to light.

In fact, more than 750 women already plan to sue New York State for sexual assault inside prisons and jails.

Prison Life for Women

The New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision says it has “zero tolerance for sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and unauthorized relationships.” It also states that the staff has an “affirmative duty to report any knowledge, suspicion, or information regarding an incident of sexual abuse or sexual harassment, and any unauthorized relationship” and that individuals who violate Department rules are disciplined by the Department when there is evidence that a crime was committed.”

However, up to now, the survivors of abuse say they have not been heard.

Incarcerated women began speaking out once the law was passed. For example, one woman exposed a horrific tale of rape by a prison sergeant while another spoke about repeated violent sexual assault by a guard. Others spoke about excessive force, solitary confinement following a rape, withholding of privileges such as visitation rights, and retaliation against women who reported incidents.

Many of these women have suffered from physical and mental health issues as a result of prison abuse. Victims suffered in silence or were not heard when they sought treatment and spoke about the injustice and brutality in the prison system.

The new law has empowered these women and given them a voice to get justice for the inmate abuse they suffered at the hands of guards, corrections officers, and other prison staff.

Filing a Lawsuit for Prison Abuse

If you have been sexually abused, a victim of sexual assault, rape, or any other sexual offense while incarcerated in a New York prison and at least 18 years of age at the time, contact the law firm of Ronemus & Vilensky, LLP, one of greater New York City’s most accomplished personal injury and sexual abuse law firms. We have the experience and expertise to help you navigate a lawsuit under the Adult Survivors Act.