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Thomas Swartz
Thomas Swartz, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3001
Experience:  Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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I am writing a book regarding my experiences as a prison guard.

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I am writing a book regarding my experiences as a prison guard. These are true stories. I am using my real name and my picture on the cover. I don't use ANY real names of the people in my stories - I don't use the name of the prison, but I do say it was in CO, which is true. Do I have to get permission from the prison to print these stories? A death occurred in my cell house, but it was not foul play - it was a massive heart attack. NOTHING was ever said to me or done to me regarding this incident, but IF perhaps a family member of that inmate saw this story and recognized it, due to time and place, could I end up being sued or something? Could I be getting the prison facility itself into any legal issues? I am a 66 year old woman - theve events occurred when I was 58/59. I want very much to publish my little book, but I am a bit scared of possible ramifications. Thank you.

You do not need permission from the prison. Anyone is allowed to write stories about their personal experiences. The only problem that could arise is if you wrote something false about a person. In that case you could possibly be subject to a defamation lawsuit. But so long as what you are writing is true, there could be no claim of defamation. Defamation requires that you publish something which is factually false and which damages a person's reputation. And this would apply to the death that occurred in the prison. As long as what you publish is true, the family of the deceased prisoner would have no claim against you. If there was any negligence on the part of the prison in terms of treating or failing to respond to the prisoner who had the heart attack, the family might have a claim against the prison but not you personally. In addition, the statute of limitation has likely expired for any negligence claim against the prison. So I would not worry about publishing the book. Anyone is allowed to publish true stories of their experiences.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So, there is absolutely no way I could be liable for anything? I am still scared - I certainly would not want to ever wind up in prison myself!!

Do I have a right to inquire at the hospital they took this inmate to to find out the time of death? Is that public information? I do not know his name, but just using the dates and the prison facility name.


Thank you.

You can not be put in prison for writing a book. And as long as you are truthful you can not be liable for anything.

The hospital would not be able to disclose information about the inmate. That would be considered private medical information. And it would not be public information.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for the information. Just an FYI to help you - I looked through your other responses and in my responses. You spelled cannot as two words (can not) - it is one word.

Thanks for the correction. Sometimes I type too fast. Good luck.

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