New York Civil Rights And Criminal Defense Lawyers

Prisoner’s Rights

Why are some people fighting to withhold misconduct files?

Accountability and transparency are important to preventing corruption in law enforcement. Until recently in New York, as well as in many other states, misconduct records in personnel files were not available to the public. However, state lawmakers repealed the law that kept the files private in 2020. On the surface, this appears to be a win for civil rights and justice. It appears that legislators' intentions and the execution of their legislation may not go hand in hand, though. Creating roadblocks to access According to ABC News, repealing section 50-a of New York's civil rights law did...

read more

Law ends long-term solitary confinement in New York

Starting in March 2022, New York state law will prohibit correctional facilities from isolating inmates for more than 15 days. The bill, signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on April 1, 2021, comes after years of activism aimed at ending solitary confinement in the state. Review the provisions of the bill and its impact on New York inmates. The effect on the prison population Incarcerated individuals and their advocates have long protested the isolation of inmates in New York prisons and nationwide. These groups cite the racial inequities in the solitary confinement system. According to data...

read more

Does your spouse have a right to medical care in prison?

If a judge has ordered your husband or wife to serve a prison sentence, you must adjust to a new way of life. You should not, however, have to worry about your loved one’s personal safety or overall health. This is true even if your spouse has a chronic medical condition, a permanent disability or another ailment. The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects individuals from cruel and unusual punishment. Neglecting to treat medical conditions or to respond to health emergencies may violate this fundamental legal right. Your spouse is at the mercy of prison officials When free...

read more

What happens when a person dies in prison?

Having a loved one die in prison is a heart-wrenching experience. The harsh realities and administrative hurdles of the prison system only compound ordinary feelings of grief. In some cases, family members attempt to learn the circumstances surrounding the inmate’s death as a means of finding closure. Too often, they may face a long uphill battle. Whom does the prison notify? During the prison intake process, inmates usually create a list of designated contacts, including whom to contact if the inmate dies in custody. Prison staff attempt to contact the designated contact first. If that is...

read more

Know your rights as a prisoner who has a disability

If you face or are currently serving a prison sentence and have a disability, you have federally protected rights under the Americans With Disabilities Act. If you experience discrimination because of your disability, you can seek legal recourse. Review the disability rights of prisoners and actions to take if discrimination occurs. Understanding your rights The prison must provide effective communication methods such as audio, Braille, videophone, closed captioning and interpretation services. You must receive reasonable modifications to procedures and policies because of your disability if...

read more

Prisoners facing rising rates of violence, sexual abuse

When you have a loved one in prison, you may find yourself worrying about him or her and the treatment your loved one receives behind bars. The number of prisoners making allegations about sexual assault, harassment and other forms of abuse has risen sharply in recent years, indicating that your concerns may have merit. According to Penn State University, the number of sexual harassment and assault complaints coming from American prisoners spiked 180% between 2011 and 2015. In 2011, prisoners filed 8,768 such allegations. By 2015, this figure had increased to 24,661 allegations. In New York,...

read more

Incarceration populations an ongoing challenge

For a person arrested and charged with a suspected crime or multiple crimes, the fear of being put in a jail or prison is real. This may happen regardless of whether or not the defendant is convicted as many people must spend time in jail or prison while they await trial. Even though a defendant is supposed to be considered innocent until proven guilty per the criminal justice system, the realities of today's jails and prisons may not always reflect this. Overcrowding in New York jails and prisons Data from the Prison Policy Initiative indicates that in 2018, an estimated 230,000 individuals...

read more

Prisoner rights and taking action after they are violated

Individuals in New York and states across the nation are focused on their rights now more than ever. This goes beyond the basic rights of every citizen but also the issues that plague vulnerable populations. Whether this is minorities, women or the disabled, being mistreated and being denied certain rights is against the law. In these matters, individuals could take action for a civil rights violation. When it comes to these types of violations, many think of the citizens within the community. However, these rights still extend to those not immersed in society. In other words, rights are...

read more

Incarceration does not eliminate your human rights

You might believe that prison guards are meant to maintain order, security and discipline. And while that is the case, guards must also recognize the safety and rights of those they oversee. But in some unfortunate circumstances, prisoners suffer at the hands of those employed to maintain a civil environment. In one such case of alleged assault by a prison guard, attorney Edward Sivin of helped an inmate bring a lawsuit against New York State. And a judge from the Court of Claims at Albany recently found the state liable for the prisoner's injuries. Why a judge...

read more

Violation of inmate’s rights leads to settlement, but not justice

When a person receives a prison sentence, this does not negate his or her civil rights. In fact, as the American Civil Liberties Union points out, the U.S. Supreme Court has explicitly stated people in prison still have the same fundamental rights protected by the Constitution as those who are not incarcerated, including the right to have legal representation and access to the court system. Unfortunately, isolation, lack of resources and other barriers often prevent prisoners from asserting their rights or protecting themselves from violence or abuse at the hands of their guards. The New...

read more

Archives