I believe that prisoners should have certain human rights. For example: if they are injured or sick and ask to have medical care, they should be allowed to have it as soon as they ask for it.

Also I believe that prison guards should protect prisoners from sexual and physical abuse. Their jobs are to protect all of the inmates and make sure they do not harm themselves or each other or anyone else. Their jobs are to help them because the best they can be and change their ways. I do not think guards should ignore inmates if they feel threatened or endangered by another inmate. If someone there gets injured I feel like it should have been the guards’ responsibility to watch over them and break up a fight and call for more help when it is needed. For example in the book Locked Up a man asked to be moved to a different cell because his cell mate would threaten him, when he asked guards told him that he would not be moved and for him not to ask again. Not that much later after, his cell mate stabbed him with a pencil six times (Laura B. Edge). The guards had many opportunities to protect that inmate but refused to, which isn’t right because that is their job.

I also believe that while people are in prison they should be learning how to act like a “normal” citizen in society and for them to do that they should have people that work with behavior and emotions, such as therapists and psychologists, talk to the inmates, without that they will never be able to be “normal” in society. Inmates should be going to prison to learn how to change their ways from what they were doing wrong, but instead a lot of inmates are coming out of prison exactly the same, if not worse. Prison should be re-teaching inmates social behavior, not just punishing them.

Also prisoners shouldn’t just learn acceptable social behavior, they should be allowed to practice by associating with other inmates. Some prisoners are locked up in a tiny cell up to twenty-three hours a day (aclu.org). When they are locked up behind bars in a small space it sees like they are being treated like they are animals living in a zoo.

People against prisoners having any human rights usually look at prison as a punishment only for the inmates. They assume because they did wrong they don’t deserve special treatment. They think that they are in there only to be punished for what they have done wrong, instead of being in there learning how to behave as a citizen in society.

People think that prisoners deserve whatever happens to prisoners while they are in jail because it is their own fault they were placed in there in the first place. Prisoners get to learn about karma as a first-hand experience when they are put into prison.

Also a lot of people don’t want to have a lot of their tax money going to the prisoners to help buy them things prisoners need to be treated right there. Even when it comes to prisoners needing psychiatrists to talk to, so they don’t end up mentally ill while they are in prison or even to prevent more mental illness. People assume that’s where their taxes would be going and they don’t want to support prisoners becoming proper and healthy, mentally and physically, for society.

Prisons in general should have someone for inmates to talk to, this shouldn’t be a new thing. Also people should want prisoners to have this because they should be getting help before they are released from prison and without it they could easily becoming worse than they were before.

If your tax money is going to a prison that should be a good thing because that is letting you help protect yourself and your loved ones. It would help because prisoners are getting the care and treatment they need so by the time they are released they know what they did was wrong and understand why it was and do not do it again. Especially in case they were actually insane they would get the help they would so it can be treated and so they are sane once they are out and can take care of themselves in a better manner.

If I were to commit a crime and be sent to prison for it, I would want help so I can change into a better person. I know a person who was suspended for two weeks last year for something they did wrong, actually it was a couple people. But while they were out of school they got help to become better people and since that happened I haven’t heard or seen any of them get in trouble since. If they didn’t get help and they were just punished for what they did, they probably would have never actually learned a lesson. They would probably just try to be sneakier, not changed into the people they are now.

When I interviewed my mom, she agreed that prisoners should be learning wrong from right so they know how to act when they are released. She thinks that if they are only being punished and locked behind bars all day every day, they aren’t really learning a lesson, they are just becoming angry. She believes they need all the help that they can get while they are in prison so they can become better people that they should be.

If you had a loved one in prison wouldn’t you want them getting all the help they could? Wouldn’t you want them to be able to change and realize the mistakes they made? If you believe prisoners are being abused, threatened or ignored, let your voice be heard. Every one deserves human rights, share your opinion to the world. Go to the website, http://www.hrw.org/free-burmas-prisoners/take-action, and join the online petition! Every member counts towards people having human rights.

26 Replies to “Prisoners Should Still Have Human Rights – Guest Editorial by Rebecca Donovan”

  1. I completely agree! I’ve though about this before and it just doesn’t make sense that people who should be learning how to act like decent human beings are surrounded with indecent human behavior that is treated as if it is normal. With that attitude in prisons toward indecency, they’ll just act the same or possibly worse when they get out because of the normalcy.

  2. Rebecca,

    You brought up a lot of very good points. The point of prison, like you mentioned, is to make prisoners become active members of society. I agree that prison does not always serve this function. Your article made it clear that most prisons do not have systems that allow prisoners to become better people because their basic-human rights are being stripped from them. Something as simple as health and safety should never be a concern for someone–no matter what crime they’ve committed.

    One thing I would’ve liked to see would be an interview with specific people in charge of prisons such as prison guards. It also would have been interesting to see more information about specific prisons in the area.

    Overall, the article is very well done!

  3. I also agree with the writer, that every human should get their rights even if they are a prisoner, your rights shouldn’t be taken away from you ever. She makes a very good point of how prisons or jails should be focusing on helping people change so they don’t commit the same crime. This is a very informational article and the content should be shared more.

  4. I agree with what is being stated. Even though they did something against the law, they can still be treated like humans too.

  5. Prison should teach a lesson for prisoners, which in most case it does not. The job of a prison shouldn’t only be to take a dangerous person off the street, it should be to teach them a lesson and to prevent them from going back to their old ways when they get out.

  6. I’ve always felt that the goal of prisons should be rehabilition. A lot of times we associate prisons with locking people up and throwing away the key, but that’s just not the case. Prisoners should be protected, treated well, and prepared for the world they will eventually face. There are undoubtedly people who need to be in prison and will always be a danger to the public, but the United States has a serious prison population problem that we need to face, and one way of doing so is by taking a look at the way we view prisoners.

  7. With how much of taxpayers money is already being eaten up by federal prisons, substantial. A lot of prisoners are very dangerous people, and many wouldn’t respond well, if at all to rehabilitation, further wasting money.

  8. I agree with Becca’s point of view that prisoners even though they broke the law they should still be treated like citizens and have equal rights.

  9. Good article. I especially agree with them talking to therapists so that they are able to return to a normal society when, and if, they get out.

  10. I like your ideas to make sure guards protect prisoners from sexual abuse. “Don’t drop the soap” could be totally eradicated from everyday conversation.

  11. I really liked this story, and I completely agree with you that prisoners should be getting help from others. I have never really thought about those ideas before reading this. But from my own experience, I have a family member that has been in jail many times and continuously makes the same mistakes. Since this has been going on in my life for a long time, I agree with the idea of getting them help because I would then hope to see some change in their behavior and to never see them back in jail. I also agree with the fact that for how much we are paying taxes and some of it going to the jails, they should definitely be paying for help for these inmates.

  12. I really liked how you acknowledged various aspects of prison life as well as public opinion in order to fortify your argument.

  13. I thought this article was really interesting and gave a different point of view that many people don’t hear of. I also liked that you added the personal story I think it helped add to the believability in the artilce .

  14. i enjoyed this article, however something that struck me as off was that prisoners needed to learn right from wrong, where as many of them just dont care

  15. I agree with this article. I believe that every person should have civil rights, no matter what happens. Just because they went to prison for going against the law doesn’t mean that they are not still human.

  16. I agree with this article to an extent that maybe not all prisoners should be able to get medical care. How example the prisoners that are in high security prisons. They put themselves into that situation, and should deserve what they get.

  17. Becca makes a very good point. Inmates do have the rights of other human beings. The crime puts them in a place where they should be safe and able to be helped, not beating into them that they are a disgrace to humanity which is NOT the case.

  18. I think this article is very interesting because you are touching upon a very controversial topic. I think there should be more articles about issues such as this one.

  19. I completely agree! When in prison, people deserve to be treated as they would be if they weren’t in prison. If they don’t get help there, then they may end up in prison again because they didn’t receive the help that they needed. Prisons should definitely help prisoners more than they currently are.

  20. I agree with your opinion Becca very much. I totally agree that the inmates should get help from people because I think that it would help them realize that they made a terrible mistake and would possibly not make that mistake again.

  21. I think you bring up some really interesting points! Prisoners definitely deserve to be treated like humans and they still should have rights.

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