Prisoner rights in the United States

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All prisoners have the basic rights needed to survive and sustain a reasonable way of life. Most rights are taken away ostensibly so the prison system can maintain order, discipline, and security.[citation needed] Any of the following rights, given to prisoners, can be taken away for that purpose:

Prisoner may refer to one of the following:

The right to:[citation needed]

  • not be punished cruelly or unusually
  • due processes
  • administrative appeals
  • access the parole process (denied to those incarcerated in the Federal System)
  • practice religion freely
  • equal protection (Fourteenth Amendment)
  • be notified of all charges against them
  • receive a written statement explaining evidence used in reaching a disposition
  • file a civil suit against another person
  • medical treatment (both long and short term)
  • treatment that is both adequate and appropriate
  • a hearing upon being relocated to the mental health facility.
  • personal property such as: cigarettes, stationary, a watch, cosmetics, and snack-food
  • visitation
  • privacy
  • food that would sustain an average person adequately.
  • bathe (for sanitation and health reasons).

Many rights are taken away from prisoners often temporarily.[citation needed] For example, prison personnel are required to read and inspect all in-going or out-going mail, in order to prevent prisoners from obtaining contraband. The only time a prisoner has a full right to privacy is in conversations with their attorney.

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