While those detained in prisons or jails do not typically have the same civil rights as free citizens, they are still protected under certain federal and states laws. Violations of prisoner rights commonly go undetected, unreported, and unpunished because those behind bars are often unaware of their legal rights.
Prisoner rights are generally guaranteed by the 8th amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This amendment states that incarcerated persons are not to be subjected to “cruel and unusual punishment.” However, there are several constitutional protections that an imprisoned individual loses. One notable right that is revoked for incarcerated persons is the protection against unwarranted searches and seizures.
Violation of Prisoner Rights
Imprisonment is a part of the rehabilitative process and is not intended to pose any harm to a convicted criminal. Unfortunately, however, many prisoners suffer injury or death behind bars. Massacres, violent protests, prisoner on prisoner abuse, and violent guard behavior all occur frequently in prisons throughout the country despite the fact that these institutions are legally required to prevent such occurrences. Because of the lack of information about prisoner rights violations, not much has been done to rectify the problem.
Prisoner rights mirror constitutional rights in that they require institutions to provide their inmates with a minimum standard level of treatment. Prisoners do not lose their constitutional rights to due process, appeals, and parole when they are incarcerated. Prisoner rights also protect individuals against discrimination, abuse, or other mistreatment on the basis of race, sex, religion, or national origin. Prisoner rights also include the freedom of speech and religion.
Certain state inmates have limited rights. People who are classified as “detainees” are not officially prisoners. This means they may not have the same rights as federal prisoners.
Prisoner rights are usually determined by the facility and particular state of incarceration. A court may decide to enforce certain constitutional guarantees, but typically, the court does not involve itself in such matters. In many cases, prisoners have rights they are unaware of and cannot exercise because of their situations.
If you or a loved one is incarcerated and has suffered a violation of prisoner rights, contact an experienced prisoner rights attorney today for a complimentary consultation. Many times, only experienced lawyers can create a change or remuneration for a prisoner rights violation. Being incarcerated does not mean that your rights no longer exist, or that you are powerless to defend them.