Should Prisoners be Treated as Humans

Topics: Ethics, Prison, Human rights Pages: 7 (2451 words) Published: January 15, 2014

Should Prisoners Be Treated as Human Beings?

SOC 120: Introduction to Ethics & Social Responsibility

June 10, 2012

SHOULD PRISONERS BE 2 Should Prisoners Be Treated as Human Beings?
Some people believe that once a person commits a crime or breaks the law, they no longer get to exercise their human rights. In fact, they believe that prisoners do not deserve human rights. The treatment of these inmates come into question; especially when most facilities and prisons are overcrowded, receiving more mentally ill prisoners, and female incarceration is on the rise.

The problem with some of society is they do not want prisoners to be treated with any common, human decency. They believe inmates have it great by eating healthy and receiving adequate medical care. Being able to work out and learn new trades for the future has some of society’s members upset with paying tax monies for these types of “amenities”. I believe that every human has the right to meals and preventive health care. People should not have to fear for their safety or health because they have committed a crime. I do not feel they should receive good treatment: punishment should be adequate for the crime committed, but the prisoner should not be in threat of starvation, abusive treatment from other inmates or staff, or fear of medical neglect.

Prisoners are in fact human beings and of course punishment was much worse in ancient times. There would be severe physical punishment, and living conditions while incarcerated were much worse than conditions today. Let’s explore some of the treatment of prisoners and the and how they are sometimes affected by this treatment. I believe treating prisoners as you would any other person: with the most basic human rights. This is an ethical dilemma we as society are faced with.

The world and the incidents that occur in it are very unpredictable. There are plenty of people who never expected or thought they would ever become incarcerated. I, personally, was incarcerated from age seventeen to age thirty-three. I have experienced quite a bit of unethical treatment, as well as been a witness to this treatment.

There is no self-defense law here in California. I was attacked by a girl with a gun. We fought over this gun and she was shot once in the neck. During the time of the scuffle, she was wanted for an outstanding warrant for the murder of a pregnant woman. I was convicted for attempted murder and sentenced to fourteen years of incarceration as an eighteen year old. My incarceration was to take place in a California State Prison for Women.

Upon my reception to state prison, I have been victim to and witnessed unethical behavior towards the prisoners. With prison overcrowding and an influx off inmates who are mentally ill. There are also the drug offenders. The drug offenders make up a large group of prisoners. There are a variety of ethnicities, backgrounds, and classes of individuals incarcerated.

Prison overcrowding contributes to a lot of the unethical treatment of prison inmates. When the prisons are overcrowded, inmates are not segregated amongst other inmates of their same security levels or risks. Sometimes these conditions make it easy for crimes to be committed within the facility or institution. Many high risk inmates will make victims out of the less violent, vulnerable inmates. The prisoners can become victims of rape, theft, assault, and sometimes murder. Some prisoners have been known to commit suicide because the conditions in prison are too difficult to deal with. To report any crime committee against you while a prisoner, can lead to retaliation from the prison population; terrorizing one with fear. SHOULD PRISONERS BE...

References: Hazley, D. (2001) Women’s Prisons Population Growing retrieved from
Human Rights Watch. (2004) Prisoner’s Abuse: How Different are U.S. Prisons? retrieved from
Metzner, J.L. (2010) Solitary Confinement and Mental Illness in U.S. Prisons: A Challenge for Medical Ethics volume 38, number 1, retrieved from
Mosser, K. (2010) Introduction to Ethics and Social Responsibility San Diego, Bridgepoint Education Inc. retrieved from
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (2005) A Pocketbook of International Human Rights Standards for Prison Officials retrieved from
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