When a person is incarcerated in an Ohio state or federal correctional facility, many of their privileges are lost. However, it is important to remember that they still retain basic human rights and liberties that are guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution and Ohio state statutes.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of the civil rights prisoners have in Dayton and advice to families on how their loved one can protect these rights.
Table of Contents
Confidential Meetings with Attorneys
All prisoners retain their right to speak with a criminal defense attorney in confidence. Inmates have the right to meet with their attorneys and to do so privately without any interference or surveillance of their communications with their lawyer.
The attorney-client privilege is vital to ensure that prisoners receive proper legal representation and have assistance in preparing a defense at trial in criminal cases.
Additionally, the Sixth Amendment gives prisoners the right to effective legal counsel. That means their appointed attorney must provide adequate assistance and representation throughout the case.
Right to Basic Medical Care
Prisoners have a right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. All inmates are entitled to adequate medical care. The right to healthcare services as an Ohio inmate includes access to mental health services, access to prescription medication, and treatment for any acute or chronic injuries.
A prisoner’s denial of basic medical care may form the basis of a federal lawsuit under Section 1983 of the United States Code. If it can be shown that an inmate has been subject to deliberate medical indifference – meaning the jail and its medical staff or contract medical services have grossly neglected an inmate’s medical needs – the prisoner may have a right to compensation under the law.
Free Speech and Religion
Prisoners retain their basic First Amendment rights even while incarcerated. For example, an inmate has both freedom of speech and freedom to practice their religion.
However, a prisoner’s First Amendment rights are not unlimited. They cannot disregard security measures to conduct political protests, for example, or engage in speech that could create disorder within the jail. But at the same time, they cannot be compelled to express political opinions against their will, nor can they be required to eat food that is against their religion.
Inmates have the right, as part of their religious practice, to request certain diets that are consistent with sincerely held beliefs. Provided that an inmate’s special diet does not pose an undue burden on the facility, a jail must accommodate religious diets to the extent feasible under their operations.
Right to Humane Treatment
All inmates must be free of cruel and usual punishment. This right is secured by the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Prisoners may not be physically abused, whether by corrections staff or fellow inmates. Additionally, they may not be subject to any inhumane treatment or denial of basic needs such as food, clothing, water, and shelter.
Further, certain practices within the jail, such as prolonged isolation or the use of restraints to punish an inmate for minor infractions, may be a violation of law.
Family Visitation Rights
The U.S. Constitution does not contain a right to non-attorney visitation while an inmate is in custody. But, Ohio corrections facilities have visitation policies that permit friends and family to meet with their imprisoned loved ones, subject to the rules and regulations of the jail.
Ohio law mandates that correctional facilities maintain a visitors list for all prisoners, subject to application procedures and approval. Institutions are permitted to deny a visitation request for various reasons. For example, if the visitor applicant could pose a threat to security or has a record of disruptive conduct, the jail can deny visitation privileges.
How a Dayton Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help Protect a Prisoner’s Rights
Prisoners do forfeit some liberties when they enter a jail. They must comply with the security regulations of the facility. But they retain certain fundamental rights that are guaranteed by federal and state law.
Specifically, prisoners have the right to speak with their attorneys in confidence, receive basic medical care, practice free speech and religion, and be treated humanely.
If you believe a loved one’s civil rights have been violated by a corrections facility, an experienced criminal defense attorney in Dayton, Ohio may be able to assist with advocacy to the jail administration or through the filing of a federal Section 1983 lawsuit. In a challenging environment like a correctional facility, it is important to remember that prisoners retain certain fundamental rights under the law.
Contact the Dayton Criminal Defense Attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Dayton
130 West Second Street #17-129
Dayton, OH 45402