Inmate Rights

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A dirty prison cell, which could arguably be considered cruel and unusual punishment for prisoners. Picture taken from mirror.co.uk.

Do Inmates Have More Rights Than We Think?
Story by: Michael Mosier

Inmates all across the country have multiple rights such as the right to hot meals every day and the right to shelter. This could be deemed common sense. They also have their Miranda Rights read to them upon being arrested. But, do prisoners have more rights that what we believe? The answer may be yes.

According to HG.org, prisoners of every degree have the right to complain about prison conditions (HG.org). On top of being able to complain about their living conditions, they are also able to share their concerns with the courts in order to attempt to change their living conditions to suit their personal needs. For example, as depicted in the image above, the inmate(s) living in cells similar to this one are legally able to complain about the nasty cot in the dirty room. First, they must complain to the workers inside the prison they are in. If the prison workers do not comply, the prisons have the right to go above them and bring their concern to the court system in order to make their living environment more laundered. The complaints can range from a prisoner’s personal cell to a dirty cafeteria or even a vile public restroom (available in low security prisons).

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Going hand in hand with suitable living conditions is the fact that prisoners have safety from cruel and unusual punishment. The abstinence of cruel and unusual punishment for prisoners is derived from the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution. According to the Law department at Cornell University, the Eighth Amendment gives individuals (including prisoners) the freedom from the death penalty (in most cases) and excessive fines (law.cornell.edu). Cruel and unusual punishment can range from disemboweling, beheading, burning, or...
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