Towards a Theory of Prisoners' Rights
Ratio Juris 15 (2002): 122-45
Posted: 14 Feb 2013
Date Written: February 13, 2013
This paper explores the issue of prisoners’ rights. The conditions of incarcerated people in jails and prisons include psychological and physical deterioration brought on by their condition of confinement. The one sanction that has been debated extensively in the United States is the death penalty. Yet there are numerous losses or deprivations short of death that we might impose on legal offenders. In addition to broader issues such as the nature of rights and the basic moral rights possessed by individuals, issues specific to the rights of serious legal offenders are distinguished and discussed. The latter issues include whether offenders forfeit all or some of their moral rights, whether their retained rights are less stringent, whether the state has any obligation to facilitate exercise of their retained rights, and what specific rights prisoners retain or acquire.
Keywords: imprisonment, rights, prisoners' rights, forfeiture
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