Prison Reform and Prisoner Rights essay sample

The American prison system is likely to be reformed in the near future. Since the 1960s, the number of prisoners steadily increased; it was a result of stricter changes in sentencing practices. By 2010, America had more prisoners than any other country in the world. The mass incarceration outnumbered other practices such as rehabilitation and lenient methods. The poor and people of color were put behind the bars for serious and petty crimes. Rates of recidivism skyrocketed, and the federal government spent billions of dollars for the services which did not actually work. Criminal justice reform was seriously addressed in 2015 when several non-profit foundations united to combat overcriminalization of low-income and minority people.

Advocates of human rights are deeply concerned about the fact that many prisoners are held in conditions which threaten their health and safety every day. Rights of the inmates are extremely limited. They are entitled to protection from cruel and unusual punishment like tortures which are still practiced in supermax-security prisons. The same refers to sexual harassment and discrimination. Prisoners also have a right to complain about prison conditions and poor access to the courts; they shall receive a proper medical care, and inmates with disabilities shall have reasonable accommodations. As we can see, prisoners rights are not extensive so far.

Recently, the mass media report on the numerous cases in which rights of prisoners are violated. There is a lack of recreational facilities which may help inmates to adapt to the social environment and avoid recidivism.

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