Legal Mechanisms of Challenging Confinement – Prisoners’ Rights

Legal Mechanisms of Challenging Confinement

Prisoners have certain inalienable rights. This is despite the fact that the prisoners may have committed grave offenses leading to their imprisonment. Inmates may use two legal mechanisms to challenge their confinement. These include the writ of habeas corpus and challenging the trial process that resulted in their conviction. Under the writ of habeas corpus, inmates claim that they are being held unjustly. They force the state to justify the reasons for their conviction and incarceration. Therefore, habeas corpus petitions challenge the fact that an individual has been convicted. If the habeas corpus is successful, the inmates are retried instead of being released.

The second legal mechanism that inmates may use to challenge their confinement is challenging the trial procedure that led to their conviction and incarceration. Inmates may claim that that the evidence was not properly admitted during the trial. They may also claim that they were denied the right to a jury or the jury was not properly constituted. The inmate may also claim that the trial was not undertaken in a timely manner. Generally, a suspect must be brought to trial within certain set time limits. In addition, the trial should not be speedy. Failure of the judge to instruct the jury adequately may also be one of the grounds of appeal. The judges may have said too little or too much. To avoid such an appeal, judges simply portions of the law that are relevant to the case to the jury. Judge’s failure to instruct the jury adequately may be probable cause for miscarriage of justice (Mays & Thomas, 2008).

Habeas corpus appeals are very expensive to the tax payers. Inmates who face the death penalty use the writ of habeas corpus to postpone their execution continuously. This leads to a ballooning of the costs of the death penalty on the tax payer.

Managing Prisoners with Special Needs

A correctional facility may face several management issues when dealing with inmates with special needs. Inmates with special needs refer to inmates who have medical illness, physical disability, and drug and alcohol problems. Inmates with psychological impairment are incapable of functioning in a highly structured environment such as a prison. They may pose danger to themselves and/or to others. To prevent the inmates from harming themselves or others they should be placed under solitary confinement where they would have close supervision.

Inmates that have physical impairment should be provided with special housing or supervision. Inmates with certain physical impairment should be assigned to a direct supervision housing unit. In addition, the inmates should be given the permission to take their artificial limbs with them. Inmates who have crutches, wheelchairs or other medical devices that may be used as weapons should be subjected to administrative administration. The medical staff should help in determining the inmates that are fit to interact with the general population in the prison (Carlson & Garrett, 2009).

It is vital for the correctional staff to respond to the requirements of people with special needs. Failure to respond to the needs in a timely manner may lead to an aggravation of the issues. To solve this problem, correctional facilities should train their employees on how to identify issues of people with special needs.

Functional assessment of inmates with special needs is one of the key management issues that correctional facilities face. To address the above problem, a correctional facility should select and use the most appropriate functional assessment instruments to tools. Identification of screening and classification instruments would help in addressing the issues that correctional facilities face in managing inmates with special needs (Carlson & Garrett, 2009).

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