Do prison inmates have any rights?

Related Ads

Need Professional Help? Talk to a Lawyer

Enter Your Zip Code to Connect with a Lawyer Serving Your Area

searchbox small

Prison inmates lose many of their civil rights. But the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (which prohibits “cruel and unusual punishment”), other federal laws, and state laws ensure that they don’t lose all of them.

Prison inmates retain rights to basic freedoms like freedom of speech and religion, and equal protection of law, meaning a right not to be treated differently than other prisoners based on characteristics such as race, sex, or religion (see Does the right to equal protection mean that all prisoners must be classified alike?). Prisoners also have the right to basic—albeit minimum—living standards. However, prisons may curtail these rights to some extent in the name of  safety, order, and security. Courts tend to uphold prison rules that limit prisoners’ exercise of constitutional rights as long as the rules are reasonably related to legitimate prison needs.

For further reading, see How do courts determine whether prison conditions are cruel and unusual?

Talk to a Lawyer

Start here to find criminal law lawyers near you.

how it works 1
Briefly tell us about your case
how it works 2
Provide your contact information
how it works 1
Connect with local attorneys
Related Ads