On Prisoners’ Rights

Even Prisoners are Deserving of Basic Human Dignity and Respect

By Ken K. Gourdin

In The Salt Lake Tribune, the Associated Press’s Don Thompson reports on a recent shakeup in the administration of the California correctional system after two prison wardens retired amidst a spike in suicides among inmates at one California institution and a host of alleged misconduct at another such institution. See the story here, last accessed August 5, 2016: http://www.sltrib.com/home/4196994-155/california-wardens-retire-amid-prison-abuse.

Another commenter wrote that the best way to avoid being subject to the sort of mistreatment detailed in the story, including, among other things, quid pro quo sexual harrassment between inmates and correctional officers is to not commit the crimes that land one in the institution in the first place. In response, I wrote:

I agree. However, no matter who one is, no matter what one has done, and no matter what punishment one faces as a result, one still is entitled to be treated with basic human respect and decency, as well as to be afforded the rights and protections available under the United States Constitution and to California residents under the Constitution of the State of California. And it is possible, however unlikely, for someone who actually is innocent to be convicted of one or more crimes and, thus, to be subject to a sanction which one does not deserve.

Regardless of her crimes, if the state assumes responsibility for a prisoner’s welfare, the state has a special duty (legally speaking) to protect that prisoner from predation by other inmates. And if correctional officers are adversely affecting prisoners’ rights and abusing their own positions of trust by using those positions to gain sexual favors and other benefits to which they are not entitled, perhaps McDonalds and Wal-Mart have openings for which they are better suited.

Advertisements

About kenngo1969

Just as others must breathe to live, I must write. I have been writing creatively almost ever since I learned to write, period! I have written fiction, book- and article-length nonfiction, award-winning poetry, news, sports, features, and op-eds. I hope, one day, to write some motivational nonfiction, a decent-selling novel, a stage play, and a screen play.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s