Standing Beside You – Fighting For Justice
Photo of Royce Russell

What are the rights of prison inmates?

On Behalf of | Sep 14, 2022 | Prisoner's Rights

New York City prisoners have certain rights. If those rights are violated, an inmate has the right to file a complaint.

Rights against cruel and unusual punishment

Even the most hardened criminals have certain civil rights while in prison. Under the Eighth Amendment, inmates have the right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment. This includes any inhumane treatment that violates basic dignities.

Right to be free of sexual crimes

Prisoners have the right to be free of sexual crimes and sexual harassment. This includes such actions from other prisoners are well as prison guards. Regardless of their gender, gender identity or sexual orientation, if an inmate faces sexual assault or harassment, it violates their civil rights and can be reported.

Right to reasonable accommodations

Some inmates have disabilities and may need reasonable accommodations. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), such prisoners have the right to receive the same reasonable accommodations as individuals with disabilities who are not in prison.

Right to complain about prison conditions and have access to the courts

Inmates who face poor prison conditions have the right to complain without being retaliated against such as being placed in solitary confinement. This is considered a violation of their civil rights. They also have the right to have access to the courts if they have faced unfair treatment for such complaints.

Right to medical and mental health care

Prisons are entitled to medical and mental health care when they need it. This is similar to reasonable accommodations for disabled inmates. Medical and mental health treatment can be adequate but does not have to be top quality.

Although prisoners have certain basic rights, they do not have the right to privacy. This means they may not be alone and their cells can periodically be searched.