Federal statute 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is a portion of the Civil Rights Act of 1871 that gives citizens the ability to sue the government when a state or local official violates their civil rights, as outlined by federal and constitutional laws. Such claims are often referred to as “1983 lawsuits.”
Section 1983 Claims Involving Prison Litigation
Many inmates experienced unacceptably poor care during their period of incarceration or detention, to the point that it violates their constitutional rights. Common claims brought by prisoners and detainees are typically based on claims of inadequate food, overcrowding, poor or inaccessible medical care, and lack of access to legal libraries. In court, these claims are held to the standard of “deliberate indifference,” which requires plaintiffs to prove that the entity or official(s) in question made a conscious effort to deprive them of their constitutional rights or knowingly looked the other way when made aware of such issues.
This kind of civil rights litigation may be brought under the 8th Amendment by inmates who are currently carrying out their sentences, as well as under the 14th Amendment by those who are or have been in a period of pretrial detention.