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The Rights of Prisoners Essay

A person convicted to spend time in jail has become part of the sanctions given in the society in order to create and maintain peace and order. People who are subjected to be imprisoned are called prisoners and are treated differently from the rest of the society. There are several reasons for doing so and the primary of which is the need to separate those who have the tendency to act against the other people. However, it remains that the prisoners are, and should be, given several rights despite their condition and state because this is inherent and is attached to them wherever they go.

First, the prisoners remain their citizenship and while they are given a punishment according to the Constitution, these individuals are also extended the right to the protections that are included within the same. In article 10 of the International Covenant on Civil Rights and Political Rights, it is stated that “All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person” (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights).

While it is accepted that prisoners have to be placed in jail and lose their liberty, the sense of humanity and dignity that is inherently with them as a person is not lost. They deserve the kind of treatment that they have as persons and this includes their rights as human beings. Likewise, the conferment of rights on prisoners is seen as an active response to the conditions and the environment which they live in (Swaaningen 139). Second, it is seen that “jail should not just be about punishment, but about retraining and rehabilitating prisoners” (BBC News).

Prisoners should still be given their fundamental rights in order for them to gain personal development that leads to their rehabilitation and retraining. They have to be given the fundamental rights they acquired as a person in order for them to also be responsible and obligatory for the actions they take. This is a step that is required in order for them to step into rehabilitation and retraining for their selves. However, this is limited based on the needs and conditions of the prisons where they are placed (Bergman & Bergman-Barrett 545).

Third, even the Supreme Court, the highest body in the judicial branch, recognizes the rights of the prisoners. This is evident in the ruling that they made in response to the arguments made by the Bush Administration that “enemy combatants do not have a right to habeas corpus” (Los Angeles Times). The SC is firm in their decision that the prisoners are given the rights that they have regardless of the crimes committed. Being an important body in the judiciary, the voice of the SC is given much weight in discussing whether the prisoners’ rights are recognized or not.

On the other hand, there are arguments made against the provision of rights for the prisoners. The cause of which stems from the crime that the prisoners have committed and the need for them suffer punishment (Johns). However, this simply begs the question and does not seek to resolve the need for reforming the prisoners. Likewise, it fails to see the humanistic side of the problem and is also evident of the insufficiency of understanding the nature of human rights to be universal.


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