Rights of Prisoners Lawyers
What Rights Do Prisoners in General Have?
Prisoners obviously do not have all the rights of an ordinary citizen. Besides being confined within certain boundaries, prisoners who were convicted of committing felonies could be deemed ineligible to vote. However, there are some rights that are so universal that they extend to every citizen, including prisoners:
- Prohibition of Cruel and Unusual Punishment - though the state and federal governments are authorized to put those who are convicted of committing a crime in prisons, they may not do with them as they please (e.g., prisoners cannot be tormented or neglected). Prison officials must afford prisoners a minimum standard a living. Simply put, this means prison officials must make living conditions habitable for prisoners by providing shelter, food and water, and proper medical care.
- Due Process - prisoners must be afforded the chance to participate in the appeals process as well as the parole process. Basically, that means that a prisoner has to be given a chance to apply for another day in court to prove that his conviction was fatally flawed or at least be able to reduce his sentence based on good behavior.
- Equal Protection - prisoners are protected against unequal treatment on the basis of race and sex, and have some limited rights pertaining to religion and speech. This is the purpose of the Model Sentencing and Corrections Act, to make sure convicted criminals received fairly uniform sentences that were based on the crime and not on other aspects of the individual such as race or sex.
Do Different Classification of Prisoners Get Different Rights under State or Federal Law?
There are no state or federal laws that specifically say which rights a prisoner in a minimum security prison is entitled to that a prisoner in maximum security prison is not entitled to. The rights of prisoners in maximum and minimum security prisons are generally left up to the prison officials, as long as the prisoners receive those basic rights listed above.
If I Feel My Rights as a Prisoner, or Someone I Know in Prison, Are Being Violated, What Should I Do?
You should immediately seek the consul of an attorney who has experience dealing with civil rights law. Your attorney can inform you of your rights and help you decide what legal action to take against prison officials and/or the state or federal government (depending on what kind of prison you are in).
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 11-09-2011 04:33 PM PST