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Multicultural Prisoners Playing Chess Behind Prison Bars

When an Inmate's Rights Are Violated 

Messina Madson & Kendall Castello, MC Criminal Law Jan. 3, 2023

The rights of inmates while they are under the care of a correctional institution can be complex. Inmates have the right to humane conditions, freedom from discrimination and harassment, nutrition, adequate medical care, and counsel, among other rights. Understanding these rights is essential to ensure that inmates are protected while serving their time behind bars. 

At MC Criminal Law, our criminal defense attorneys assist clients in developing defense strategies to minimize their punishment or avoid a conviction altogether and also help protect their rights while incarcerated.  

If you – as an inmate – have any reason to believe that your rights were violated or your loved one’s rights were violated while in jail or prison, speak with our attorneys. We can help you understand your options for protecting and enforcing your rights. From our office in Dallas, Texas, we provide legal counsel to individuals in McKinney, Denton, Fort Worth, and other parts of North Texas.  

What Are Your Rights as an Inmate?  

According to The Sentencing Project, there are over 2 million people in jails and prisons across the United States, making our nation the world’s leader in incarceration. It is essential that inmates understand their rights so they can protect and enforce them while serving time in jail or prison.  

The Right to Humane Conditions  

Inmates have the right to humane conditions while they are held in prison or jail. This includes access to safe and clean living areas, protection from extreme temperatures, regular access to necessary hygienic items such as soap and toothpaste, and the ability to move freely within the confines of the facility without fear of punishment or abuse. Additionally, inmates should not be subject to excessive force or solitary confinement unless there is an imminent risk of harm to themselves or others.  

The Right to Be Free from Discrimination & Harassment  

Inmates also have the right to be free from discrimination and harassment due to their race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, ethnicity, religion, or disability status. Any discriminatory acts should be reported immediately so that corrective action can be taken. Additionally, any attempts by staff members to solicit favors from inmates should be reported as well.  

The Right to Nutrition  

Inmates also have a right to nutrition while in correctional facilities. This means that meals should provide adequate calories as well as an appropriate balance of nutrients for all inmates regardless of their dietary needs or preferences. Food allergies must also be taken into consideration when planning meals for inmates with special dietary needs. The quality of food provided should meet health standards set forth by local health departments so that it is both safe and nutritious for all who consume it.  

The Right to Adequate Medical Care  

All inmates must receive adequate medical care while they are incarcerated because this is considered a basic human right regardless of whether someone has committed a crime or not. This includes access to preventive care such as vaccinations as well as treatment for acute illnesses or injuries sustained while in prison/jail/correctional institution. Additionally, mental health services should be available if needed so that those who suffer from mental illness can receive the treatment they need in order to remain healthy while incarcerated.   

The Right to Legal Counsel 

Inmates have the right to speak with a lawyer while incarcerated. If they wish to talk to a lawyer confidentially, they can ask their counselor or facility authorities for permission to make a call and access legal counsel.  

Steps to Take if Your Rights Are Violated  

Inmates have several vital rights that must be upheld during their time in correctional facilities. These rights serve both as a protection for inmates against mistreatment during incarceration and also ensure that justice is served accordingly regardless of one’s criminal record – thus making sure our society upholds its ethical standards even when dealing with those who have committed serious crimes.  

Unfortunately, these rights are often violated. It is crucial for inmates—and their family members—to know what to do if an inmate’s rights are violated. Below are the steps inmates should take if their rights are violated while in prison or jail in Texas:  

  1. Document the incident. If an inmate believes that their rights have been violated, it is essential to document the incident as soon as possible. Documenting the incident can be done in several ways, such as writing a letter or taking notes on a piece of paper about what happened, who was involved, and when it happened. It is also important to keep this documentation in a secure place.  

  1. Contact a lawyer. After documenting the incident, it is important for inmates to contact a lawyer right away to get legal advice and assistance with filing a complaint against the prison or jail. A criminal defense attorney can help advise inmates on their legal options and provide representation if necessary. Additionally, they can assist with filing any grievances or lawsuits that may arise from the violation of an inmate’s rights.               

  1. File a complaint with the prison or jail administration. The next step is for inmates to file a formal complaint with the prison or jail administration about the incident in question. When filing this complaint, make sure to include all relevant information, including dates, times, names of those involved, and any other details that may be pertinent to the case. This complaint should be filed as soon as possible after the incident occurs so that appropriate action can be taken quickly by the prison or jail administration. 

Our criminal defense attorneys at MC Criminal Law provide each client with the personalized and compassionate attention they deserve, regardless of whether they are currently incarcerated or facing criminal charges.  

Take Legal Action Today   

If you believe that you or your loved one was deprived of rights while incarcerated, you need to take legal action. At MC Criminal Law, our skilled and results-driven attorneys in Dallas, Texas, have over 30 years of combined legal experience in helping defendants fight against criminal charges and helping inmates protect their right. Schedule a consultation today to discuss your unique case.


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