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Prisoners’ Rights Attorney

Prisoners’ Rights Attorney

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Prisoners’ Rights Attorney

One of the most common myths about prisoners is that they're not entitled to certain rights free people enjoy. However, just because someone has been imprisoned does not mean they're less human. On the contrary, prison is meant to give prisoners the chance to reevaluate their lives and make positive changes.

But unfortunately, many people leave prison worse than they arrived. Most of the time, this has nothing to do with their character but how they were treated while in prison. Because society treats prisoners as people who are less deserving of love and care, their plights often go unheard.

That's not the only concerning thing; some rogue prison administrators take advantage of the societal neglect prisoners are often subjected to strip them of their rights. As a result, many prisoners suffer extreme pain and suffering while in prison. And by the time they're released back into our communities, if they're lucky enough to be free, some of them are never the same, especially mentally.

For this reason, it's becoming increasingly important to address the plight of prisoners. They deserve love and care. But, most importantly, they deserve to be accorded their basic rights. And these rights aren't negotiable; the Constitution gives prisoners certain rights regardless of the nature of the crimes they've committed.

In this article, we'll discuss various rights prisoners may be entitled to, including what to do if you or your loved one has been denied these rights while serving a sentence in prison.

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  • What Rights Are Prisoners Entitled To?

    The US Constitution provides and protects certain rights for every American, whether a prisoner or a free person. Some of these rights include:

    The Right to Practice Their Religion

    Just because someone has been found guilty of a crime and sent to prison does not mean they are not entitled to their right to practice their religion. In fact, the US Constitution grants prisoners, like other free Americans, the right to practice their religion.

    Looking at it from a deeper perspective, the right to practice religion is often the foundation on which rehabilitation begins. When people go to prison, there's always the possibility that they'll have some personal time to reflect and make certain changes in their lives. Reflection and soul-searching in prisons are proven to work even better when religion is involved.

    The Right to Free Speech

    When sentenced to prison, one does not automatically lose the right to communicate (free speech). On the contrary, they still need to connect with friends and family through free speech. Denying them these basic rights as a form of punishment only makes the situation even worse. As mentioned earlier, the whole point of prison is to provide inmates a chance to reflect and make certain lifestyle changes.

    Right to Legal Counsel

    A prisoner's fate isn't sealed when sentenced to prison. Even as they serve their sentence, they still have a right to legal counsel. You've probably heard, watched, or read about stories of individuals who were wrongfully imprisoned for years and later obtained the freedom they deserved.

    Such emotional stories would never be possible if prisoners weren't allowed access to legal counsel. So if you or someone you know has been denied access to legal counsel while in prison, this could be a violation of the law.  

    When people go to prison, they're basically locked out from the rest of the world. When that happens, society tends to disconnect from these individuals. In addition, rogue prison officials take advantage of the situation to deny prisoners the rights they are entitled to under the US Constitution.

    But it doesn't end there.

    Some rogue prison officials participate in violating the rights of prisoners, either directly or indirectly, as discussed below.

  • What are Common Constitutional Violations in Prison?

    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.

  • What to Do If You or Your Loved One's Rights Have Been Violated While in Prison?

    As mentioned earlier, society rarely believes or even listens to the plight of prisoners. But you would be glad to find out that there are certain legal remedies you may be able to pursue if you or your loved one's rights have been violated while in prison.

    When you're in prison, there's little you can do when it comes to fighting for your rights. This is because, even though you may have certain freedoms, they may be limited. That's why you need someone who genuinely cares about you and understands your struggles.

    In a society that condemns prisoners to rot in prison, you need someone who'll give you a lifeline just by listening to your story and taking the required legal action. That's where a prisoners' rights attorney comes in.

    The scope of legal assistance an experienced prisoners' rights attorney might be able to provide depends on the circumstances of your case. Under normal circumstances, a prisoners' rights attorney will listen to your complaint and advise you on the best course of action to take.

    Here are common examples of situations that might warrant the intervention of a prisoners' rights attorney.

    When You Want to File a Wrongful Imprisonment Claim

    Do you believe that you were not supposed to be in prison in the first place? Did you serve a sentence for a crime you did not commit simply because you had a bad defense attorney or no attorney at all? If so, a prisoner rights attorney might be able to fight for you by filing a lawsuit against the parties responsible for your wrongful imprisonment.

    If You Were Injured While in Jail or Prison

    Prisoners suffer various kinds of injuries while in jail or prison, but they go unreported. Whether you are a current or former inmate, you may be able to sue for injuries sustained while in state or federal prisons.

    If Your Loved One Died While in Prison

    Earlier, we discussed that prison deaths are on the rise all over the country. The sad truth about some of these deaths is that they often involve a cover-up. If you've lost a loved one who was serving a sentence in prison, you may be able to fight for them even when they're no longer alive.

    An experienced prisoners' rights attorney will investigate the circumstances that led to their death and determine whether there was any form of foul play.

    If foul play exists, the parties responsible for your loved one's death might be held responsible. Similarly, you may be eligible for death benefits.

    If You or Your Loved One Got Sick While in Prison

    There's no guarantee that you won't fall sick while in prison. In fact, prisons don't have the best reputation when it comes to matters concerning hygiene. However, if you feel sick or contracted a disease due to gross negligence by the prison's administration, you may have a valid claim. Speak with an experienced prisoners' rights attorney to understand your legal options.

    The plight of prisoners often goes unheard because of certain stereotypes about them. However, prisoners are still human beings worthy of respectable treatment. In addition, the US Constitution grants prisoners certain rights even as they serve their sentences.

    If you or a loved one's rights have been violated while in prison resulting in severe injuries or even death, contact Morgan & Morgan today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation to get started seeking justice. Our fee is free until we win.

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Last updated on May 05, 2023

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