Many people assume that prisoners simply do not have guaranteed rights in America. After all, if you do the crime, you have to do the time, right? Sadly, this conception does lead to a serious issue in the United States: inmates experience countless violations of their rights.
However, these in prison and jail actually do have rights that are supposed to be guaranteed by the law.
The Right to Complain About Conditions
If an inmate feels as though his rights have been violated, that the facility is not safe or clean, or has any other complaint about his treatment, then he does have the right, by law, to file an official complaint both with officials and with the court. Sadly, these complaints are often ignored, especially because the inmate must first complain to officials working in the facility before he can go to the court. If he is allowed to contact the court, he must also pay for the court fees, which few inmates can afford given that they do not work while in prison.
The Right to Not Be Harassed
This right extends to inmates as well as prison staff. No one is allowed to harass others. This means that staff are not allowed to demean, insult, or oppress inmates. This include sexual harassment as well, which is a particular problem in prison, for both men and women. Even if a staff member or another inmate claims that this kind of behavior is normal and accepted, it is still against the law.
The Right to Proper Medical Care
Prison can be harsh. The food is often poor and low in nutrients; inmates are given very little time to exercise or go outside; the cells are often cramped. This can lead to serious health risks. Proper medical care for inmates is a must and is guaranteed by law. However, these rights are limited. Not all medical procedures are legally required. For example, if an inmate has a bad cavity, then she has the right to have the tooth pulled, but not the right to have it filled. The treatments must be considered “reasonable,” rather than extensive. This means that it will be up to prison staff to determine what is reasonable and what is extensive.
The Right to Humane Treatment
Inmates are, at the end of the day, human. Whatever crime they were convicted of, they are human, and thus should be allowed to live in humane conditions. This means that the prison must be free of vermin, such as rats and cockroaches; there must be a reasonable number of available bathrooms; and the prison can not violate any fire codes that could put the inmates at risk. On top of that, inmates have the right to be treated humanely as well. As in, they should be treated with the dignity and respect that all humans deserve. They should not be treated as objects or animals.
When Rights Are Violated
There are a number of other rights that inmates are supposed to be guaranteed. Unfortunately, there is a very negative view of people in prison in America, even of those who haven’t been officially convicted of a crime. There are many people in jail who are awaiting trial because they have not paid their bail. They have not been found guilty, but they may still be treated as less than human. If you have had your rights violated in prison, then you should reach out to a lawyer who can fight on your behalf and protect your rights. If you are facing an arrest and assume that you cannot afford bail, then you need a bail bond agency that can offer a flexible payment plan and a low 10% premium. Call Balboa Bail Bonds at (619) 760-2222 today.