The governing principles of the United States guarantee certain fundamental rights to everyone which can never be taken away from them, even when you are in jail. If you’re sentenced a term in a jail, or detained and awaiting trial, there are some federal and state laws that guarantees the most basic human treatment to you under any situation. These rights extend to even those inmates who aren’t a citizen of the United States.
Prisoners in the US, from federal or state prisons or local jails, are guaranteed by the Eighth Amendment to never be subject to ‘cruel and unusual’ punishments. Whereas, the First Amendment ensures a freedom to practice one’s religion (though limited), and aspects related to free speech such as voicing concerns over prison conditions and having a right to access the courts for that.
Let’s have a look at the rights guaranteed by the federal and state laws to the prisoners and detainees in jails of California:
Humane Facilities and Conditions: Pre-trial detainees – those who have been detained and are awaiting for trial – can’t be treated as guilty or can’t be punished. They must be housed in a humane condition and treated with humility until they are proved guilty in the court. This extends to even those who can’t afford the bail.
Cruel and Unusual Crime: The Eighth Amendment protects the prisoners from being subjected to the any sort of ‘cruel and unusual’ punishment or condition. According to the Supreme Court, any condition that violates the basic concept of a person’s dignity may be considered cruel or unusual.
Sexual Harassment or Assault: The Prison Rape Elimination Act protects every prisoner from all sorts of sexual crime or harassment, like being raped or molested while in custody. The protection is from both, the inmates and prison personnel.
Racial Segregation or Discrimination: Prison inmates have the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of their color or the religion they follow. This means that they can’t be segregated in prisons, except where necessary for preserving discipline and prison security.
Complaints About Prison Condition and Access to the Court: Inmates have been given the right to voice their concerns over inappropriate prison conditions, and complain about it to the prison officials or to the court.
Rights for Disabled Prisoners: Disabled prisoners have a right to certain reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act to ensure that they receive the access to prison programs/facilities that they are qualified and able to participate in.
Medical And Mental Health Care and Attention: Prisoners with medical or mental health care issues are entitled to receive the ‘adequate’ care and treatment for both, short-term and long-term diseases. These are just satisfactory level of treatment and don’t even match to the standard treatment for those outside of incarceration. However, these should be enough to save your life.
Limitations to Prisoner’s Rights
There are obviously some limitations to these rights. Inmates can retain only those of the First Amendment rights that do not change their status as prisoners and which keeps the prison order, discipline, and security intact.
Prisoners are entitled to not be deprived of their personal property by the prison personnel. However, they are not protected from searches by the prison personnel to look for any unwanted element such as drugs, weapons, or other contraband.
If you know anyone who is right now in prison, and may not know about his/her rights as a prisoner in there, visit to acquaint him with the above mentioned rights to make their staying in the jail safe and secure.
For help with getting a bail bond for someone detained, call us 714-240-2245 for 24 hours bail bonds service.