Prisoner's Rights

Topics: Prison, United States Constitution, Penology Pages: 2 (407 words) Published: November 19, 2011
Prisons are places to incarcerate offenders who in society posed a threat, committed a crime and were charged by the courts to serve time. A prisoner retains all the rights of an ordinary citizen except those expressly, or by necessary implications, taken from him by law. (Coffin v. Reichard) Inmates do not have to express their rights, they are generally assumed by law. An inmate should have all constitutional rights except those that need to be necessarily taken from him (Ortega v. Ragen). This could be to protect himself, other inmates, or staff. “Throughout history, many have questioned what rights prisoners should be granted and these issues of what rights a prisoner should have come to the forefront of American society and politics in recent months because of the alleged prison abuses in military prisons, but we still need to address prisoner rights for those incarcerated in local, state, and federal penitentiaries across the United States. The issue of prisoner rights and what rights a prisoner should have is often a divisive matter and while it is not granted a great deal of public attention, there are serious questions still to be considered in the area of prisoner rights.

Generally, when one enters the prison system they are giving up fundamental rights involving liberty as well as certain freedoms as payment for their crime against society. While these sacrifices in liberties are often justified, there is a fine balance to be struck since all prisoners possess certain rights simply because they are human beings.

Although the United States has had jails and prisons since its inception, the degree to which fundamental rights should be obsierved in the case of prisoners has always been disputed. Some feel as though by entering prison a prisoner should not have any rights at all beyond that which states that he or she cannot be murdered by the state without a trial. In the view of some, when one goes into prison it is because they have violated...
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