When a person has already been arrested for a crime and they are serving their time in jail then, through the eyes of the law, they are undergoing the appropriate punishment for their actions and they are entitled to their own rights. This is especially true for individuals who were given shorter sentences for crimes that are not considered to be very serious or very harmful to society.
What rights do inmates have?
A prisoner who is behind bars may be undergoing punishment for their actions, but that definitely does not mean that they do not have any rights. Inmates have many rights and the way they are treated is regulated from the moment they are arrested.
Police officers have a tendency to forget, but once they have arrested an individual they automatically become in charge of that person’s physical and mental well-being until that person is in someone else’s custody. It is the officer’s job to make sure that if the prisoner was seriously injured, or if the prisoner seems to be in an extreme amount of distress, that they figure out the best course of action to help them out.
Once a person goes behind bars, they luckily have the 8th amendment to protect them from any form of harm or even from being put in an uncomfortable environment. The 8th amendment protects the rights of inmates to at least have a reasonable place to stay while they are serving their time in jail. This includes:
- Not living in crowded conditions
- Having adequate food and water
- Having access to parole
- Being treated fairly by police officers
If any of the above points are violated, then the 8th amendment has indeed been transgressed and the inmate has every right to be compensated for the way they were being treated. Just as they had a right to a criminal defense lawyer when they were first convicted, they have the right to demand their rights now as well. At the very least, once the above issues have been addressed legally, the inmates have the right to be removed from such conditions and be put in a safer environment.
What can be done if a police officer harms an inmate?
Generally speaking, the rules for violence behind bars are quite similar to the rules of violence on the street. If the police officer harms an inmate because they are trying to defend themselves and the inmate was hurting others or trying to hurt the officer, then there will most likely be no penalties for their actions. However, if the officer acted out of malice or attacked for no apparent reason then family members of the inmate can get in touch with a police brutality attorney in Alexandria, Virginia to see what legal action can be taken.
Having a family member in jail can be a very scary experience and many people often worry about the safety of their loved ones while they are behind bars. A lawyer can help a family remain calm by reminding them of the rights which they have and by explaining to them how the law protects their family member in the specific situation which they are currently in. If the officer managed to do a lot of physical damage or if the officer went to the extent of killing the inmate then there are far greater chances of legal action going in the favor of the inmate and his family members respectively.