The United States of America and its Constitution has guaranteed all inmates basic rights. If you are facing incarceration, or if you have a family member or friend who is in prison or jail, you should know about inmates’ rights.The rights of inmates include the following: 1) The right to humane facilities and conditions 2) The right to be free from sexual crimes 3) The right to be free from racial segregation 4) The right to express condition complaints 5) The right to assert their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act 6) The right to medical care and attention as needed 7) The right to appropriate mental health care and 8) The right to a hearing if they are to be moved to a mental health facility
Pre-trial detainee must be housed in humane facilities; they cannot be “punished” or treated as guilty while they await trial. Inmates also have the right to be free, under the Eighth Amendment of “cruel and unusual” punishment; the term noted by the Supreme Court is any punishment that can be considered inhumane treatment or that violates the basic concept of a person’s dignity may be found to be cruel and unusual. For example, an inmate held in a 150-year-old prison infested with vermin, fire hazards, and a lack of toilets would exemplify a constitutional violation.
An inmate cannot be subjected to sexual crimes including sexual harassment. The Prison Rape Elimination Act protects prisoners, so much of what may be depicted in Hollywood, has been grossly exaggerated. Furthermore, inmates cannot be racial segregated in prisons, except where necessary for preserving discipline and prison security.
Inmates can complain about prison conditions and have a right of access to the courts to air these complaints. Moreover, disabled prisoners are entitled to assert their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act to ensure that they are allowed access to prison programs/ facilities that they are qualified and able to participate in.
Inmates are entitled to medical care and attention as needed to treat both short-term conditions and long-term illnesses. The medical care provided must be “adequate.” Inmates who need mental health care are entitled to receive that treatment in a manner that is appropriate under the circumstances. The treatment must be “adequate.”
Inmates are entitled to a hearing if they are to be moved to a mental health facility. However, an inmate is not always entitled to a hearing if he or she is being moved between two similar facilities. A mentally ill inmate is not entitled to a full-blown hearing before the government may force him or her to take anti-psychotic drugs against his or her will. It is sufficient if there is an administrative hearing before independent medical professionals.
Inmates retain only those First Amendment rights, such as freedom of speech, which are not inconsistent with their status as inmates and which are in keeping with the legitimate objectives of the penal corrections system, such as preservation of order, discipline, and security. In this regard, prison officials are entitled to open mail directed to inmates to ensure that it does not contain any illegal items or weapons, but may not censor portions of correspondence which they find merely inflammatory or rude.
Inmates are entitled, under the Due Process Clause of the Constitution, to be free from unauthorized and intentional deprivation of their personal property by prison officials. However, Inmates do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their prison cells and are not protected from “shakedowns,” or searches of their cells to look for weapons, drugs, or other contraband.
If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So, it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer. SQ Attorneys can be reached at (425) 359-3791 and/or (206) 441-0900.