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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 98084 Find in a Library
Title: Rights and Obligations of Prisoners
Journal: New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement  Volume:11  Issue:1  Dated:(Winter 1985)  Pages:1-9
Author(s): E van denHaag
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 9
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The article presents views and suggestions on prisoners' rights and privileges, the abuse of those rights, and the roles of the prison system.
Abstract: Prisoners have a right to be confined in conditions that are not cruel and unusual. This means little more than that they must be nourished, housed, clothed, and medically provided for in reasonable ways. They have few other rights. While penal servitude deprives inmates of many of the constitutional rights available to nonprisoners, custodians have an obligation not to curtail privileges or freedoms that are rights for others unless required to do so by custodial or legitimate punitive exigencies. Thus, prisoners should be given the opportunity for work and for reasonable exercise and recreation. Their right to privacy should be honored as much as possible, and means should be provided to prevent abuses of power by both prison personnel and other inmates. Our prisons are misnamed correctional institutions: rather, they are punitive institutions. Contrary to ideals, they neither rehabilitate nor harden criminal dispositions. In all likelihood, the best that can be done to help prisoners, their victims, and taxpayers, is to provide a structured environment, discipline, and reasonable work under reasonable conditions.
Index Term(s): Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Correctional institutions (adult); Correctional reform; Corrections standards; Environmental quality; Prisoner's rights
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