There are thousands of inmates in New York prisons and jails. Although these individuals are incarcerated, they still have certain civil rights. It’s important to know how inmates are protected and to know about New York’s bail reform.
What are inmates’ basic rights?
There are certain prisoners’ rights in place in New York and throughout the United States. Those basic rights include the following:
- Inmates must be placed in humane facilities instead of in those that are not fit for humans. Conditions must be reasonable and not cruel or unusual.
- Inmates have the right to not be sexually harassed, raped or assaulted.
- Inmates cannot be separated based on race.
- Inmates have the right to complain about the conditions of their space. They are permitted to express complaints in court as well.
- Inmates who are disabled have rights per the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA.
- If an inmate is sick or suffers injury, they are legally entitled to adequate medical treatment.
- Inmates who need mental health care are legally entitled to receive adequate treatment.
- Inmates can receive a hearing if moved to a mental health facility from a standard facility. In some cases, there may be a hearing before medical professionals if medication is involved.
Bail reform in New York
New York’s bail reform law also takes into account civil rights to protect individuals in custody. The law requires more situations where judges can order cash bail. Once the law was put into place, more crimes became eligible for cash bail. Inmates who have been charged with the following crimes are now able to post cash bail:
- Second-degree burglary
- Some sex trafficking offenses
- Promotion of sexual performance of a child
- Vehicular assault
The judge will review and consider the circumstances before determining whether cash bail is appropriate. The goal is to improve the criminal justice system in New York.