Incarceration is a unique situation that limits some of your civil rights. However, there are various laws that could still give you some protection.
Some of these laws go to the very highest level of our government. Here are a few examples.
The Eighth Amendment
As explained by the Cornell Legal Information Institute, the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution is one of the most important laws that protect your rights as a prisoner. It is one sentence long and, in the plainest of terms, it prevents cruel and unusual punishment. By extension, it also gives you the right to a basic standard of living.
Model Sentencing and Corrections Act
The Model Sentencing and Corrections Act of 1978 is another important law. It says that, as a prisoner, you have a protected interest in freedom against various types of discrimination. By extension of this, you might be able to hold people who violate those interests accountable in a court of law.
The Fourteenth Amendment
The Fourteenth Amendment is important for you as a prisoner because it entitles you to equal protection of the laws of both New York and the United States in general. Further, it says that no New York law can infringe upon these protections. In the context of prisoners’ rights, you would probably bring action under the Fourteenth Amendment for discrimination faced while incarcerated.
Your status as a prisoner versus your rights
As you might imagine, any claim you make of a violation of your rights while in prison will probably meet with opposition. To obtain the justice you deserve, you would have to overcome their arguments.
One of the main points in the case against you will probably be that your status as a prisoner and the safe, secure operation of the prison made it acceptable or necessary to violate your rights. Your legal strategy would probably have to take this into account.