Developing a Victims’ Suit for Injuries Caused by a Compulsorily Released Prisoner

This Note advocates the development of a tort remedy for victims injured by a compulsorily released prisoner. This remedy would be based on existing tort theory permitting suits against third parties whose negligence causes or facilitates a criminal act. The victim would bring suit against both the state and third parties who aided in the criminal release determination . To support his claim, the victim would allege: (1) that state officials negligently selected the offending inmate for early release; and (2) that the state negligently maintained the unconstitutional prison conditions which precipitated the release.

Part I of this Note discusses the history, causes, and results of compulsory prisoner releases. Part II demonstrates the inadequacy of existing remedies available to the victims of compulsorily released prisoners. Part III applies the principles of tort theory to develop a more effective remedy. Finally, Part IV addresses governmental immunity as a potential obstacle to such a suit, and advocates the waiver of immunity to ensure victim compensation and to encourage thoughtful prisoner releases.