An advocate for constitutional and human conditions for inmates, the Prisoners’ Rights Project focuses on state prisons as well as New York City jails.
Since its founding, the Project has built a record of consistent achievements relative to the treatment and conditions surrounding New York prisoners.
About the Project
Established in 1971, the Prisoners’ Rights Project works to ensure the safety and human rights of those incarcerated in New York jails and prisons. Some of the current problems the Project advocates address include discrimination issues, mistreatment of disabled and LGBT people and denial of both physical and mental healthcare.
Over the years, the Project has helped to make life behind bars better for prisoners in several different ways:
- Requiring schooling for youth in adult jails, resulting in a new high school and improvements in the education afforded to inmates
- Improvement in safety and living conditions in city jails, including better ventilation, sanitation and hygiene standards
- Reducing overcrowding in city jails by ending “double-celling” in cells built for one person
- Requiring New York State to improve treatment programs for inmates with mental illness
- Ending excessive use of solitary confinement and making daily outdoor access part of the minimum standards of the New York City Board of Correction
- Limiting shackling and barring shackling for pregnant female prisoners taken to hospitals for delivery
The Project has made significant progress in bettering the environment for prisoners, but further improvements are necessary. Jail time should not cause anyone to lose his or her constitutional rights whether completing a sentence or awaiting trial. A civil rights attorney can intervene and file suit on behalf of the prisoner, who may deserve compensation for wrongful treatment while behind bars.