Riots in Prison Response Paper

the scenario below and answer the questions in italics:

“When a riot occurs in prison, the inmates sometimes seize a guard or other prison employee and hold that person during the period of the riot. Not all the inmates will directly participate in seizing or holding the guard, even if they otherwise participate in the riot. When the riot is quelled, what charges can be brought against the inmates? What should the government have to prove to convict an inmate of these charges? See Comm. v. Spearin, 846 N.E.2d 390 (Mass. 2006).”

Review the posts of your fellow learners and respond to at least two. In your response posts, you must do one or more of the following:

  • Ask an analytical question.
  • Offer a suggestion.
  • Elaborate on a particular point.
  • Provide an alternative opinion supported with research.

Be sure to support your initial post and follow-up posts with scholarly examples from the module readings and additional literature where appropriate. You must cite all references according to APA style.

Classmate #1 Hayden

Charges that could arise regarding Comm. v. Spearin, 846 N.E.2d 390 (Mass. 2006), could be False Imprisonment, Kidnapping, and Hostage Taking. To be charged with false imprisonment, the government would have to prove that the defendant must have “confined or restrained the liberty or freedom of movement of another,” the act “must have been intentional without the consent of the victim,” and that the defendant had “no lawful authority to confine or restrain the movement of the victim” (Gardner & Anderson, 2013).

In order to find the defendant guilty of hostage taking, the Commonwealth must prove each of the four following elements beyond a reasonable doubt: “First, that the defendant is a prisoner in a penal or reformatory institution; Second, that the defendant seized or detained another person; Third, that the defendant threatened to kill, injure, or continue to detain that person; Fourth, that the defendant acted with the purpose and intention of compelling a third person or governmental entity to act in some way, or to refrain from acting in some way” (Reuters, 2006).

Kidnapping is false imprisonment while also moving the victim from one place to another. It would have to be proven that the guard was taken from one location to another.

Classmate # 2 Lisa

Depending on the events of the riot, inmates can be charged with anything from disorderly conduct to assault and battery. In Commonwealth v. Spearin, some of the charges that could be brought against the inmates include, kidnapping, property damage, disorderly conduct, aggravated assault, and battery.

Kidnapping is defined as “to seize and detain or carry away by unlawful force or fraud and often with a demand for ransom” (Kidnap., n.d.). Inmate McMullen seized Officer Florent and dragged him to a control desk where McMullen continued to negotiate with officers. McMullen had also previously indicated that he was going to use Officer Florent as a bargaining tool. Other inmates could also be charged with kidnapping even though they did not participate in grabbing Officer Florent, they did watch over him to make sure he did not escape.

Aggravated assault is defined as attempting to “cause serious bodily injury to another or attempting to cause bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon” (Aggravated Assault., n.d.). At one point, while holding Officer Florent hostage, McMullen verbally threated to kill Officer Florent while holding a screwdriver to his throat. Some of the other inmates could also be charged with aggravated assault for throwing rocks at the Officers, one of which struck an officer in the chest.

Other inmates could be charged with property damage and battery. Battery is defined as “the offensive touching or use of force on a person without the person’s consent” (Battery., n.d.). InCommonwealth v. Spearin, not only did inmates cause damage to the property by breaking windows, but they also “repeatedly beat the sole officer who was [in the HA unit]” (Supreme Court of Massachusetts., 2006).

The government would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the inmates are guilty of these charges. This may not always be an easy task. Luckily, prisons these days have tons of video surveillance. Investigators should be able to pull videos from around the prison to see which inmates were involved and what part they played in the riot. Investigators would also interview the inmates, guards and other prison staff. There would also be photos taken of the injuries to the Officers. The government would also have to prove that the inmates were of sound mind and partaking in the riot under their own free will.