Prisoner's Rights Term Paper

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Should Prisoner s Rights Be Expanded or Limited?

What Additional Rights Should They Be Given?

What Rights Should Be Taken Away?

When an individual commits a crime the legal system prosecutes the criminal and ultimately incarcerates him. The very foundation of such a sequence of events is meant to degrade the offender and remove any social rights he had while on the outside. For example, prisoners have this vague notion that they are entitled to any basic rights while in prison. This concept has outraged law-abiding, upstanding citizens for decades. Prisoners are sent to prison or jail because they committed a crime, something that was considered unacceptable and wrong in society. Therefore, they are sent to prison or jail to pay for what they did, to be punished. However, a lot of these prisons and jails that they are being sent to are made to be too comfortable and too accommodating. Prisoners are being entertained rather than being reformed. They are entitled to the hypocrisy of programs such as arts & crafts, music, television, occasional live performances, and leisure sports. Along with these activities prisoners are entitled to programs such as education and trade instruction. The reason many citizens are so outraged by these programs is because they are not offered in such a capacity to the rest of society as readily as they are to prisoners.

In many prisons, prisoners are served 3 hot meals a day. Breakfast might consist of eggs, bacon, cereal, fruit, juice, and coffee. Also, at jails and prisons prisoners have an open courtyard, where they have access to weights, basketball, and other recreational activities. While there prisoners can earn their GED, access books and computers, this is wrong. These prisoners are getting three meals a day, a roof over their heads, warm beds, cable television, recreational equipment, jobs that pay, and opportunities. Who could ask for anything more? There are homeless people on the streets, people who are not able to have three meals a day as well as all of these other luxuries and they are law-abiding citizens. So why should somebody who lives in a prison or jail be taken more care of than some one who is a law-abiding citizen struggling to make ends meet. There are laws in which we must follow to protect individuals from being mistreated or having cruel and unusual punishment inflicted upon them. However, what does this say about our system, that it is ok to treat our criminals better than our law-abiding citizens? Sure jail and prison may not exactly be the greatest place to some, but to many of the inmates, it is considered a better alternative than some other punishment.

In America today, I thought that our main goal of why prisons were created was to keep criminals away from the public, to persuade them to never want to commit a crime again, not to ensure them a great life. We have allowed our prison system to become a joke. Don t you think it is about time that we made some changes in our prison system on many of the

right s that these prisoners have? I am not saying we should use cruel and unusual punishment, but I don t think we should offering as many luxuries as we do. Eventually this

style of living may, if it has not already, become appealing to criminals or people who turn to crime thinking the end result may lead to a better lifestyle.

As you can see I do not believe a prisoner s rights should be expanded. We must remember that they are there because they broke the law and need to be punished. I don t think any additional rights should be given, however, there are rights that I think should taken away or limited. We can start by lessening or putting in place some sort of method that controls the amount of programs and activities these inmates participate in. For example, we should allow inmates who are maybe first time offenders, who have not committed a serious crime, to be able work and develop some sort of job skill. Eventually, these inmates will be returning to society. When they do we want to make sure they will not be returning again. One way to do that is to give them something to make them feel good about them themselves, some sort of goal to work towards. In allowing them to do this they are able to develop job skills, some sort of education, that will enable them to work an honest well paying job that they enjoy doing. By helping them to work towards this type of a goal, to obtain something rewarding in life, may persuade them from engaging in any criminal activity. As for the other activities, I do not feel any prisoner no matter what there status is should be entitled to arts & crafts, cable television, sports, or live performances. Recreational activities should only be given as a reward for good behavior and only once or twice a week, and only a small amount of communication should be allowed between the inmates. I do feel though that allowing inmates to complete their GED, and having access to computers and books is reasonable.

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