Should Prisoners lose their Constitutional Rights while in Prison
As the number of prisoners increase within the prison systems today, a question has risen on should prisoners lose their constitutional rights while in prison. Constitutional rights are the rights that are granted to the citizens by the government. These rights can’t be taken away legally. The way a prisoner is treated is not based on their behaviors or what crime they’ve committed, but is left up to the administrators of the prison. “In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the federal courts began to oversee state prison systems and develop a body of law dealing with prisoners' rights. During the 1980s, however, a more conservative Supreme Court limited prisoners' rights, and, in the 1990s, Congress enacted laws that severely restricted litigation and post-conviction appeals by prisoners”. (freedictionary.com) for you who don’t know, a prisoner is anyone deprived, or disadvantaged of personal liberties against their will following their conviction of a crime. Though they can’t do everything that we know a free person can, they are still guaranteed a minimal or certain amount of rights. Before they are sentenced there’s a due process of law that must take place. If they’re found guilty, then is when they will sentenced and referred to as a prisoner; and some of their rights they had as a free citizen is taken away. In past history the way prisoners have been treated was not constitutional. In some prisons, prisoners were dehumanized to the fact they were treated like animals. This was not the right way but because the authority lay in the hands of the deputy and well as the staff of the prison, it was yet acceptable. Courts were hesitant on setting standards regarding prisoners and the way they were to be treated. Some believed the authority to interpret such things were against their will, which left it in the hands of the others (prisoner employees). As the years passed by the experience inside of prisons became intolerable. This called for the courts to then come into action. It wasn’t until the late 1960’s that courts decided that prisoners were entitled to minimum rights. Before they are official sentenced many of the now detainees are locked up or jailed before their actual trial period. During the pretrial period the pretrial detainees, even have a certain amount of rights. Just as any other citizen, the pretrial detainee may NOT be deprived of any of their rights listed with in the constitution of the United States, besides the right to come and go as they please. When it became that the treatment of the prisoners was still unacceptable the courts then criticized the lower federal courts on giving too much power to the administrators within the systems. As I interviewed a couple people on should prisoners lose their constitutional rights, one answered saying, “I personally think a prisoner should lose their constitutional rights while incarcerated, because when they were free they took advantage of the same rights. Not saying that we should dehumanize them because yes, they are still human beings, but what about the ones, who aren’t committing crimes, should they still get the same privileges as those, or should they not be granted those while in prison where there is maximum security, and they’re already limited to certain things.” Hearing that response brought the question up about “do you feel as if some prisons’ authorities take advantage of the power they have at hand? She responded, “ as a former prisoner worker I can honestly say that some of the employees, as well as the administrators abuse their powers, some prisoners are treated in an unacceptable way, but because of that, I still do not believe they should have access to their constitutional rights while locked up.” –Dionne Burns After hearing her response I noted down her statements and thought upon them. Whether in prison or not we are Americans, but what makes us Americans...
References: http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Prisoners '+Rights
Bill of Rights
Declaration of Independence - Preamble
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