Civil Liability and the Employee Disciplinary Process in Corrections

Civil Liability and the Employee Disciplinary Process in Corrections 

Lawsuits have become a way of life. Over the past few decades, there have been many headliner news stories about people and businesses being sued, and corrections is by no means exempt. Staff may file lawsuits over discrimination in the workplace. Inmates or detainees may file lawsuits against officers, supervisors, and wardens for a variety of issues. Many supervisors are worried about being sued and being found liable to pay a considerable sum of money. They fear that even an innocent mistake could turn into a financial or professional disaster. As a correctional supervisor, you need to be concerned about lawsuits—but in a healthy, constructive way. You need to be aware of, and sensitive to, the concerns that courts have singled out. You also need to know your agency’s policies and procedures. Only then will you be able to fulfill your supervisory responsibilities without the concern of lawsuits Supervisors are responsible for preventing lawsuits and liability that may arise from their and their staff's actions. The overarching goal of this course is to help correctional supervisors understand the legal issues involved in supervising staff. Course content will focus on lawsuits that may be brought by inmates or detainees. You will be given an overview of civil law and explore how you and your staff can avoid liability in these types of lawsuits. You also will learn about the purposes of discipline, the concept of corrective discipline, and common steps in the disciplinary process.


Hours: 2.75


Certificates provided by accrediting body (3 Match)

American Jail Association Certification

2.75 HOURS

This activity is approved for 2.75 contact hours.

California Board of State and Community Corrections

2.75 HOURS

This activity is approved for 2.75 STC credit hours.

South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy

2.75 HOURS

This course has been approved by the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy for 2.75 hours. CJA Lesson Plan #6087

Course Details

Course Code: REL-PS-0-CLEDPC
Hours: 2.75
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 9/30/2023
Learning Objectives:
Name 3 types of civil liability lawsuits.
Identify 5 ways that supervisors can be found liable in civil liability cases.
Identify and explain the 2 top concerns of correctional staff named in lawsuits.
Identify 8 steps you can take to minimize your liability as a supervisor.
Explain why consistent enforcement of policy and procedure are important.
List the 6 common steps in the employee disciplinary process.
Explain 5 factors to consider when determining a penalty for staff involved in minor disciplinary cases.

Section 1: Introduction A. About This Course B. Learning Objectives Section 2: Types of Civil Liability Lawsuits A. Introduction B. The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) C. Common Types of Civil Lawsuits D. Tort Lawsuits E. Types of Torts F. 2 Common Torts G. Civil Rights Actions H. State Constitutional Rights Actions I. Review J. Potential Results of Civil Cases K. Review L. Summary Section 3: Supervisor’s Liability A. Supervisor Liability in Civil Action Cases B. Failure to Supervise C. Failure to Train D. Additional Types of Supervisor Liability in Civil Action Cases E. Supervisor Liability in Tort Cases F. Offender Rights G. Review H. Concerns of Correctional Staff Named in Lawsuits I. Legal Representation J. Indemnification K. Insurance L. Preventing Liability M. Follow Written and Verbal Instructions N. Stay Informed O. Seek Clarification P. Review Policies, Procedures, and Post Orders Regularly Q. Check Your Subordinates' Understanding of Their Jobs R. Maintain Good Records S. Review Subordinates' Reports T. Take Prompt Corrective Action U. Review V. Summary Section 4: The Purpose of Discipline and Consistent Enforcement A. Overview B. Purposes of Discipline C. Importance of Consistent Enforcement D. More on Binding Past Precedent E. Due and Proper Notification Process F. Communication G. Review H. Summary Section 5: The Employee Disciplinary Process A. Steps in the Employee Disciplinary Process B. Disciplinary Review Committee C. Investigations D. Determining the Proper Charge E. Determining the Appropriate Penalty F. Major Offenses G. Principle of Corrective Discipline H. Factors to Consider I. Seriousness of the Offense J. Employee's Record K. Length of Service L. Past Practices M. Mitigating and Aggravating Circumstances N. Performance Evaluations O. Documentation P. Follow Your Agency Policy Q. Disciplinary Checklist R. Review S. Summary Section 6: Conclusion A. Summary B. Course Contributors C. Resources D. References E. Congratulations! F. Exam G. BrainSparks

Staff Writer: Diane Geiman
Ms. Geiman is ACA’s Online Training Administrator. She also serves as the Academy’s instructional curriculum developer. Ms. Geiman has more than 20 years of experience in developing training programs for criminal justice professionals, including lesson plans, multimedia training programs, and print and online courses. She has received numerous awards for both print curricula and comprehensive video programs on topics such as criminal and juvenile justice, medical and mental health, supervision, management, and law. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland. Disclosure: Diane Geiman has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Expert Reviewer: Robert Rosenbloom, JD
Robert Rosenbloom, J.D. has over 30 years of experience in both adult and juvenile corrections. He is a Georgia P.O.S.T certified trainer with expertise in legal issues, policy and correctional practices. He has considerable expertise in issues related to “protection from harm” within secure facilities due to his responsibilities in working to release the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice from the U.S. Department of Justice oversight. Currently, he is Senior Consultant with the Moss Group, Inc., and practices juvenile law in the state of Georgia. He served two terms as a member of the American Correctional Association’s Board of Governors and is a Certified PREA Auditor in both Adult and Juvenile Standards. Disclosure: Robert Rosenbloom, JD has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Staff Writer: Tracy Mullins, M.Ed.
Tracy G. Mullins is the Curriculum Designer for Public Safety at Relias. Tracy has a B.S. in the Administration of Criminal Justice and a Masters of Education in Instructional Technology. Prior to joining Relias Learning in 2017, Tracy worked in various capacities for the American Probation and Parole Association for 22 years. As a Research Associate and Sr. Research Associate, she worked on a variety of federally funded projects focusing on leadership, juvenile justice, victim services, tribal justice, and offender issues. Her responsibilities on these projects include researching justice issues, writing curricula and other publications, and delivering training and technical assistance. From 2010-2016, as Deputy Director of APPA, Tracy managed its grant division, as well oversaw its e-learning initiatives, which included writing and developing online training courses. Disclosure: Tracy Mullins, M.Ed. has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Target Audience:
The target audience for this course is: Correctional Officers; in the following settings: Adult Corrections.
Relias will be transparent in disclosing if any commercial support, sponsorship or co-providership is present prior to the learner completing the course.
Course Delivery Method and Format
Asynchronous/Online Distance Learning; please see certificate details for specifics on delivery format.
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All characteristics and organizations referenced in the following training are fictional. Any resemblance to any actual organizations or persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.
To earn continuing education credit for this course you must achieve a passing score of 80% on the post-test and complete the course evaluation.
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