Human Rights are the basic rights and freedoms that all human beings are entitled to. For example, the right to life and liberty, freedom of speech, expression and thought, civil and political rights, the right to food, etc.
Naturally, going to jail or prison involves the curtailing of a persons’ rights. That does not mean inmates are without basic human rights. All persons deprived of their liberty must still be treated with humanity, respect and dignity. Even hardened criminals’ basic human rights are protected by their country’s Human Rights Constitution.
While awaiting trial, inmates have the right to be housed in suitable, humane facilities and should not be punished or treated as guilty.
The civil rights lawyers at Hutchison & Stoy discuss the rights that convicted inmates should have as described below.
10 Basic Human Rights that prevails even when in jail
- All persons, deprived of their freedom, must be treated with humanity and respect, at all times. Even though you are imprisoned, you are still a living human being and should be treated with respect for the inherent dignity of being a human.
- No person should be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Torture is any act which causes severe physical or mental pain and suffering and is intentionally inflicted on a person. Ill-treatment is defined as other acts of cruel, inhuman, degrading actions or punishment that does not amount to torture.
- All prisoners have the right to an adequate standard of living. Meaning; they shall have adequate food and drinking water, accommodation, a bed, with bedding, and clothing that fit. This accommodation should have enough floor space, fresh air, ventilation and heating, as well as effective lighting. All prisoners should be allowed at least one hour’s exercise outside, in open air, if the weather permits it. When sharing accommodations, prisoners should be carefully selected and supervised during cell times.
- Wholesome and adequate food, at normal eating hours, should be part of an adequate standard of living. Also, clean drinking water whenever it’s needed.
- There should be facilities to wash and dry clothing and bedding regularly. This should include needle and thread to keep clothing in a proper, wearable, condition.
- A basic requirement is that all prisoners should have free access to health services and any necessary medical treatments. This includes access to a qualified dental practitioner.
- Toilet and bathroom facilities must be clean and maintained properly to provide prisoners with a way to meet the call of nature and keeping themselves clean, in a decent manner.
- All sentenced prisoners that are medically fit, would be required to work. Prisoners should be remunerated for work done. The work should teach them skills to earn an honest living when leaving prison. They should be allowed to spend a portion of their earnings and to send a portion to their family.
- Educational and cultural activities shall be provided and encouraged. This should include a library. Prisoners should be kept up to date in important news happenings.
- All prisoners have the right to follow their religion and have access to a minister of that religion.
In conclusion, Basic Human Rights are applicable to everybody, even when your freedom is curtailed and you need to be jailed.