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What rights do I have as a prisoner?

The United States justice system exists with the intention of bringing equality to every human in society. This notion of equality does not disclude the U.S. prison population. Indeed, people in prison are there, serving time for alleged crimes. By serving that time, inmates are repaying their "debt" to society for whatever crime or crimes they were convicted of committing.

Outside of being in prison, and being subject to the rules and conditions of being a prisoner, incarcerated New York residents have not lost their basic human rights afforded to them by the U.S. Constitution. Nevertheless, based on countless examples of prisoners being mistreated, there are thousands -- if not millions -- of people in the prison system who have been or are being subjected to cruelty and mistreatment. These mistreated prisoners have the legal right to put a stop to their mistreatment.

As a quick review, let's take a brief look at some of the basic human rights prisoners have, which they often do not receive while in prison. Inmates have the right:

-- To being held in humane housing if they cannot afford to pay bail prior to the completion of their court cases. Also, they have the right to be treated as innocent prior to conviction.

-- To be free of cruel and unusual punishment, and they cannot be subjected to "inhuman" conditions.

-- To be in an environment without the risk of sexual crimes, sexual harassment, nor discrimination of any variety.

-- To issue complaints about their treatment and the conditions of their prisons.

-- To receive accommodations by way of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

-- To receive suitable medical care, including mental care.

-- To freedom of speech.

The above-listed rights are merely some of the inalienable rights of prisoners under the U.S. Constitution. There are many more rights that prisoners have. Use your common sense when evaluating whether you think that you or your loved one's Constitutional rights have violated in prison. If it doesn't seem right, or if it feels unfair in any way, there's a chance you or your loved one have been wronged. A civil rights lawyer may be able to help you reclaim your or your loved one's human rights by taking aggressive action in court.

Source: FindLaw, "Rights of Inmates," accessed March 24, 2017

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