A recent report shows a drastic increase in personal injury claims filed against the New York City Department of Corrections. Between just 2013 and 2014 claims rose 37 percent, and since 2009 they have risen a whopping 114 percent.

The report  comes at the same time as a lot of controversy surrounding issues of police brutality at the Rikers Island correctional facility. Reports released in recent months discuss a deep-seated culture of violence perpetrated by prison guards at the facility, particularly against young male inmates.

In one alleged incident at Rikers Island, earlier this year guards nearly beat a 22-year-old inmate to death. The inmate’s mother accused guards of spraying the man with mace, stomping on his legs, and repeatedly punching him in the face until he was in critical condition. Since then, more reports of police violence and brutality have come to the forefront at Rikers Island and other city correctional facilities, and there have been numerous rallies involving parents and families of victims that bring light to the issue. A recent riot by inmates at Rikers Island also occurred in response to alleged police brutality.

There are certain legal and ethical limits to the amount of force that police officers and prison guards are allowed to use when enforcing the law. When officers unnecessarily cause severe bodily harm, they may be guilty of police brutality.

Police officers should not be able to use their position of authority to get away with severe beatings and other inhumane treatment. If you or someone you know has been a victim of  police brutality  in New York City, whether in a correctional facility or on the city streets, consult an attorney to review your legal options.