Here are some common constitutional violations that occur - unreported - in various prisons across the country.
The Use of Excessive Force
You've watched it in movies and documentaries or probably experienced it firsthand. The use of excessive force in prison is one of the most common cases of human rights violations some prisoners have to deal with every single day of their sentence.
Unfortunately, not so many people believe these stories of excessive use of force in prison. Others tend to believe that prisoners deserve what they go through in prison for the crimes they've allegedly committed.
But that's beside the point; with or without crime, the use of excessive force against prisoners is wrong. Prison administrators know this, but because they deal with prisoners, a neglected group, very few people believe a prisoner's side of the story.
Denial of Access to Medical Care
A lot of things happen in prisons warranting the need for immediate medical attention. The truth is that most prisons in the US are overpopulated. And, when you hold a large number of people in the same building, denying them access to certain basic needs, this is usually a recipe for disaster.
The need for medical care in prison shouldn't even be negotiable. Many prisoners have lost their lives after suffering injuries caused by fights and not getting the medical attention they need. The same applies to prisoners with certain mental health problems - the need for medical assistance isn't only restricted to when fights break out.
The inhumane living conditions in prison are usually part of the reasons behind prison fights in the first place. Then there's also the issue of mental health, something many prison administrators ignore when dealing with prisoners. Certain prisoners might need mental health treatment as part of their rehabilitation process.
But, sadly, since these incidents happen behind bars, very few people are usually concerned about the welfare of prisoners, making their lives even harder and even more difficult to undergo successful rehabilitation.
Lack of Humane Living Conditions
Prisoners are also human beings. That shouldn't even be a statement, but unfortunately, some of the living conditions prisoners are exposed to in prisons across the country warrant the need for constant reminders that they're human and worthy of human living conditions. While in prison, prisoners are still entitled to proper sanitation, food, clothing, shelter, and medical care. Unfortunately, some prisons don't provide these basic living conditions to their prisoners.
Right to Protection
One of the most common misconceptions about prisoners is that most are violent and not worthy of protection. This is one of those stereotypes that make life for prisoners even more difficult when reintroduced into society after serving their sentences.
Prison administrators have the duty to protect prisoners. For this reason, if a jail staff knows or should have known that you or your loved one needed protection from substantial harm but failed to do so, they may be held responsible for their negligence if the prisoner in question gets injured.
These cases are not unique, though; many prisoners get injured, and some lose their lives in jail. Unfortunately, the issue has become so common that it almost seems acceptable.
Recent studies have shown that the number of deaths in prison has significantly increased over the past few years. According to one study, at least 4,135 prisoners died in state prisons across the country in 2018 alone. This data does not include the 45 inmates executed in state prisons that year.
These studies prove just how many prisons in America are rapidly turning into death institutions rather than the rehabilitative institutions they were originally meant to be. The study further revealed that suicide was the leading cause of death in prisons across the country.
In 2018 alone, at least 311 prisoners committed suicide in state prisons. This is the highest number of suicides in prisons since researchers began collecting data on prison deaths.
Unreasonable Strip Searches
Strip searches are a common occurrence in prisons all over the country. Prison administrators use this tactic to check for contraband, weapons, and other prohibited materials. But sadly, some rogue prison officials strip search prisoners for illegitimate reasons, such as to humiliate or harass them. This is one of the many violations that take place in prisons throughout the country but often go unreported.