Use of force is a sensitive issue, and it becomes even more problematic when it is in the jail setting. Corrections, as an institution, is tasked with the responsibility to maintain safety, control, and order of the inmates and the facility. But sometimes, they are faced with threats to their duty when inmates become agitated or display aggression for various reasons. In such instances, use of force may be the only way to secure their duty to the facility, the inmates, and the community. Corrections officers/deputies may be implicated when force is needed to be used in response to critical incidents. What options do they have in such cases?
Today’s guest speaker, Carie Hill, will discuss leading Supreme Court decisions in the area of use of force and valuable guidelines in report writing for such cases. Carrie is an attorney and a national criminal justice consultant. She provides professional development seminars in correctional law, along with criminal justice consulting, to educate and empower those working in the correctional industry in her 29-year prolific career. She is currently with the National Sheriffs' Association (NSA) as the Director of the National Center for Jail Operations (NCJO).
Some of the points Carrie covered in this course include:
- Case law and Supreme Court decisions that became the hallmark of use of force cases for both the street and the corrections setting.
- The concept of Bystander Liability and Integral Participation Doctrine that places liability not only to the individual officer but others with them or their team.
- The Graham v. Connor case that is the leading authority for use of force in the streets that established the three important components of severity, immediate threat and active resistance for such cases.
- The Whitley v. Albers and the Hudson v. McMillan cases that paved the path on the guidelines for use of force in the jail setting.
- The five-part test established in Hudson v. McMillan that looks into threat perceived, need for use of force, amount of force used, effort/s made to temper forceful response and the extent of the Injury.
- The concepts of objective standards and reasonable objective as highlighted in Kingsley v. Hendrickson.
- The significance of the jail setting in justifying use of force as correctional officers are tasked with preserving order, institutional security, and discipline.
The nine important considerations/criteria that must be incorporated into report writing including guidelines into the type of narrative and description needed to emphasize:
- Threat perceived
- Immediate threat
- Need for force
- Amount of force
- Effort/s made to temper forceful response
- Extent of injury
- Severity of the issue
- Active resistance
- Legitimate governmental interest
- Carrie’s recommendation to incorporate the concepts established through case law into policy, operation, and training.
- Lessons learned that stresses the importance of a detailed narrative in report writing to reflect all the considerations discussed.
During the Q&A, the participants raised their inquiries and concerns on:
- Using the guidelines outside the correctional setting
- The different points that must be emphasized depending on the use of force case setting
- What to expect from the plaintiff’s side in such cases
- The use of body-worn cameras in the correctional environment
- Separating pre- and post-disposition detainees