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In this article, we will break down the legal definition of deliberate indifference so you know all there is to know about it!
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Table of Contents
Understanding deliberate Indifference
Deliberate indifference is when someone “deliberately” or “consciously” does not care about the consequences of his or her actions, conduct or behavior.
The legal notion of deliberate indifference is generally used in two scenarios:
- Harassment claims
- Rights of incarcerated persons
Deliberate indifference is not the same thing as negligence.
You are dealing with “deliberate indifference” when the person is “aware” or the risk or possible consequences of its acts or omissions and chooses to ignore it.
This type of behavior goes beyond basic negligence.
Deliberate indifference definition
How do you define deliberate indifference?
According to Duhaime’s Law Dictionary, deliberate indifference is:
Ignoring a situation known to exist.
Simply put, when someone recklessly disregards the risk of harm to another or the consequences of their actions, you have a case of deliberate indifference.
The deliberate indifference doctrine is used by the courts as a standard when evaluating the conduct, acts or omissions of correctional officers when dealing with inmate civil rights.
If the correctional officer willingly disregards the use of excessive force or does not care about the excessive risks to the health and safety of inmates, the courts will evaluate the conduct based on the deliberate indifference standard.
For example, prison officials are required to provide adequate medical care to the prisoners under the Eighth Amendment.
In the event of deliberate indifference with regards to an inmate’s serious medical needs, the prison officials may be sanctioned or found in violation of their standards.
Deliberate indifference case
There are many cases dealing with the legal notion of deliberate indifference.
Here are some notable ones:
- An officer refusing to respond to a prisoner’s complaint: Gutierrez v. Peters, 111 F.3d 1364, 1366 (7th Cir. Ill. 1997)
- Recklessly delaying medical care: Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825 (U.S. 1994)
- Placing a prisoner in a cell posing the inmate to danger: Billman v. Indiana Dep’t of Corrections, 56 F.3d 785, 788 (7th Cir. Ind. 1995)
- Failing to act when the person is aware that there is a substantial risk: Crayton v. Quarterman, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103709 (N.D. Tex. Oct. 14, 2009)
- Due process violation and false imprisonment: Campbell v. Johnson, 586 F. 3d 835 (2009)
So, what is deliberate indifference?
Let’s look at a summary of our findings.
If you enjoyed this article on deliberate indifference, we recommend you look into the following legal terms and concepts. Enjoy!