What Rights Are Afforded To Disabled Prisoners?

The Rights Afforded To Disabled Prisoners

Individuals are not stripped of all their rights upon incarceration. Unfortunately, many incarcerated individuals experience denial or curtailment of their civil rights while behind bars. Some of these restrictions are illegal federally and across the 50 states as well. 

Incarcerated individuals with disabilities are at particular risk of experiencing mistreatment, as they require more services and accommodations from the facilities that house them. In the following sections, we’re going to outline some of the important rights that disabled inmates have while behind bars.

Inmates Should Have Access To Both Physical & Mental Health Care

Credentialed staff are required to provide appropriate care to inmates, though sometimes an outside specialist is required to treat a specific condition. An inmate is also allowed to receive care at an outside medical center if they have an illness or condition that requires inpatient care. Incarcerated individuals also have informed consent rights and bodily integrity rights, and they can refuse examinations, treatments, and medical procedures; also, an inmate who previously declined treatment can receive it later on if they change their mind.

Inmates in segregation, specifically, should be allowed to see a healthcare professional at least once a day, and these interactions should always be documented. An inmate who requires medication shall never be denied it, but institutions are not required to get inmates the exact medications they ask for as long as the medication is appropriate. There are also instances where inmates are required to pay for medical services, though inmates who cannot afford such services should not be denied because of inability to pay.

Additionally, accommodations should be made by housing staff so disabled individuals don’t face unnecessary discomfort while in a facility. For example, an inmate with epilepsy should be on the bottom bunk of a bunk bed, and those who have dietary restrictions should not be forced to consume food that makes them sick.

We cannot cover in this post all the rights that should be afforded to disabled inmates. Reference this informative source, provided by the ACLU, to learn more about the rights all disabled inmates possess.

How To Ensure Your Rights Are Protected Behind Bars

If you’ve experienced a denial or curtailment of your rights while behind bars, or you’re the family member or spouse of an incarcerated individual who has, you may consider filing a disabled prisoners’ rights case.

Incarcerated individuals are sometimes helpless in the face of conditions and practices that they encounter behind bars. Consulting a disabled prisoners’ rights attorney can be a step in the right direction. Get in touch with the legal experts at the Sandberg Law Firm to discuss your options today!