Prisoners’ Rights

The Philadelphia Prisoners’ Rights Lawyers You Need 

Suicide is the leading cause of death for incarcerated individuals, and it accounts for over half of all deaths that occur in prison. They found that many prisoners were isolated and targeted, making them more susceptible to violence. Many correctional officers choose to place vulnerable prisoners in solitary confinement, which is a form of abuse in and of itself.  

One prisoner suffered an epileptic seizure during solitary confinement and passed away. Video footage later showed that guards waited 90 minutes before getting her help. These are just some examples of the abuses that can occur in prisons in Philadelphia and throughout the country. Prison abuse and mistreatment is a serious matter that undermines the core values of our country, that everyone is entitled to dignity. Many prisoners are afraid to speak out and enforce their rights due to the fear of retaliation from the guards or other prisoners.


The Benefits of Working With a Philadelphia Prisoners’ Rights Attorney

If you are being abused, neglected, or tormented while serving your sentence in prison, it is crucial that you understand your rights. You may be able to hold the prison system accountable and obtain justice for what you have been through. At Abramson & Denenberg, P.C., our civil rights attorneys have helped many clients protect themselves and others by knowing and enforcing their rights as prisoners. 

We provide our clients with dedicated and passionate legal representation. Working with an attorney can help you understand all of your options. You may be entitled to compensation through a civil rights lawsuit, depending on your case. Contact Abramson & Denenberg, P.C. today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about our legal services.


Knowing Your Constitutional Rights as a Prisoner

If you have been convicted of a felony, resulting in a jail sentence of a year or longer, you have already given up a significant amount of your rights. You have given up your right to vote, own a firearm, and run for public office. However, you have not given up all of your constitutional rights. Callous and systematic disregard of prisoners’ constitutional rights happens every day in American prisons.  

When a prisoner brings up a problem, they are often ignored by the guards and managers of the prison. They may suffer more for bringing up their constitutional rights. If you experience any type of abuse or mistreatment in prison, working with an attorney is your best chance to ensure that the abuse stops and you seek out justice.


Your First Amendment Rights

As a prisoner, you have the right to free speech and to exercise your religion freely, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your incarceration. You also have the right to send and receive letters and communicate with the outside world. Any restriction on your right to free speech or to send and receive letters may be a violation of your first amendment rights. Prisons cannot refuse to accommodate religious practices. For example, you have a right to attend church services within the prison and have access to a religious minister or rabbi. 


Your Eighth Amendment Rights

The eighth amendment protects prisoners against cruel and unusual punishment. Federal courts have interpreted the phrase cruel and unusual differently over the years. Thankfully, some of the harsher punishments that we have seen have been found to violate prisoners’ constitutional rights. 

Prisons cannot use a punishment that is so severe that it is considered a degradation to human dignity, they cannot inflict punishments in an arbitrary manner, and the punishments cannot be clearly or blatantly unnecessary. Finally, prisons cannot use a punishment that would be rejected by society. Many punishments are unconstitutional because they are blatantly unnecessary, and when put under pressure, prison guards cannot justify them.


The Fourteenth Amendment

The equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment is another source of protection for prisoners who are being mistreated. This amendment prevents prisoners from being discriminated against based on their race, religion, sex, or national origin. It can be difficult to prove that prisons are discriminating against prisoners as they can justify their actions with non-discriminatory purposes. With the help of an attorney, you may be able to prove that your prison is violating your rights by denying you services or privileges or treating you unfairly due to your religion, race, or sexual identity.


Section 1983 Claims

At Abramson & Denenberg, P.C., we focus a significant amount of our legal practice on Section 1983 claims. These claims provide anyone the right to bring a lawsuit due to being deprived of their rights when someone acting with legal authority violates their rights. Prisoners can bring a 1983 claim against police officers, prison guards, prison personnel, or any other government official who violates their rights. Both state and federal prisoners have the right to file a lawsuit seeking damages for the harm they have suffered in federal court.


Physical and Psychological Abuse

Physical and psychological abuse is far too common in prisons. Even though prisoners have rights protecting them against this kind of treatment, it does happen. Some examples of abuse that prison inmates suffer include the following:

  • Choking
  • Hitting, kicking, and beating
  • Prolonged or excessive physical restraint
  • Electrical shocks from tasers
  • Sexual abuse 
  • Humiliation
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Verbal abuse
  • Prolonged isolation
  • Continuous and exhaustive searches and inspection

Prisoners have suffered extensive physical abuse while being imprisoned. Psychological abuse may not cause physical injuries, but it can cause severe depression and anxiety. As mentioned above, suicide accounts for over half of the deaths in US prisons. Violation of a prisoner’s rights can result in permanent injury or even death.  

Neglect is another common cause of injury for prisoners. Failure to provide medication or medical treatment, failure to address unhealthy living conditions, and failure to protect inmates from violence from other inmates violates prisoners’ rights. If you or your loved one are experiencing any of these issues or any other violation of your rights, please contact Abramson & Denenberg, P.C. as soon as possible to schedule your free initial consultation.