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Prisoners’ Rights, Article Review Example

Pages: 2

Words: 579

Article Review

The Issue

This article examines the position of prisoner’s rights under both Federal and state laws. Prisoners do not retain all of their constitutional rights but they are entitled to a reasonable standard of living. Once convicted state prisoners have no rights in defining their classification i.e. minimum security, maximum security etc. (Legal Information Institute). The courts defer to the prison administration authorities for the due process and management of prisoners’ rights whilst incarcerated. The strain of overcrowding in the prisons has resulted in the Federal Government moving more towards a system of outsourcing this to private sector business operations with specialist expertise in this area. The private sector officers have more of a zero tolerance factor to anti-social or bad behaviour and can impose additional 30 day sentences for infraction of prison rules. This has moved the prisons more distant from rehabilitation programmes and more to a commercial basis of incarceration.

Rules and Principles of law

The article provides a brief definition of the rules and principles of law that apply here. For example, The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. As such prisoners are entitled to protection against discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, race or creed. The prisoners retain a number of constitutional rights including that of prohibition of cruel, inhumane treatment and access to the parole system.

Analysis

Most of the legal framework protecting the rights of prisoners tends to centre on civil and human rights. This covers a wide range of items including: the right to parole services, freedom to practice their religion, rights to equal protection, the right to file a civil suit against another person, the rights to appropriate medical facilities, for those with mental health issues the right to receive appropriate mental health care treatment, the right to receive nutritional food that will sustain them. (Global Legal Resources). Other challenges include to the amount of inmates that are suffering from mental illness or substance abuse. Hence these people are being based in prisons as opposed to that of special care facilities. The prison officers do not receive the appropriate medical training in order to deal with this group of people. There are also increasing number of juveniles being processed through the adult prison system and some of these with no possibility of parole. The prison officers also have the difficulty of protecting vulnerable inmates and any minority group are always considered to be vulnerable in this regard. In addition, the challenges appropriate to gender and sex orientation pose new challenges when determining the accommodation arrangements of the prisoners. There is also the challenge of allowing the inmates to move freely around the complex without compromising their safety from the more violent offenders

Conclusion

The courts in general terms tend to defer to the prison administration system in so far as prisoner’s rights are concerned. The due process of prisoners does not require judicial oversight providing the prisoner’s constitutional rights are not breached. There has been a degree of controversy over the amount of mentally ill and retarded inmates in prisons. It has been questioned that within the sentencing process whether prison is the right place for these people or whether the prison environment will just make their condition deteriorate further. The US prison system is at full capacity and as such suggests some reformation of the existing system needs to be addressed.

Works Cited

Global Legal Resources. Prisoner’s Rights Law. 2012. http://www.hg.org/prisoner-rights-law.html. 14 2 2013.

Legal Information Institute. Prisons and prisoners rights: an overview. 2013. http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/prisoners_rights. 14 2 2013.

 

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