Although anyone who is convicted of a crime and sentenced to prison understands that they will probably be serving “hard time,” there is also an expectation that prison inmates will be protected against violence and abuse. Unfortunately, many prisons in the Northeast United States and elsewhere in the U.S. are known for failing to protect inmates. Whether it’s inhumane living conditions, insufficient medical treatment, aggravated assaults committed by guards, sexual assaults committed by other inmates, or any other form of abuse, the deprivation of civil rights in US prisons is a very real problem that is faced by plenty of prisoners.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in New Jersey, you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney on your side very early in the process. Your best chance of avoiding a severe punishment and staying out of prison is to have qualified legal counsel representing you. Additionally, a skilled criminal lawyer may be able to help you take advantage of new bail laws in NJ and secure your release from jail until the case is resolved.
If you do find yourself incarcerated and serving time for a criminal offense, you need to know that you still have legal rights. The government has locked you up, but they cannot deny your basic civil rights. For instance, prison staff is supposed to make sure that you are not beaten or raped by other prisoners. Additionally, guards are not allowed to overreact to a perceived slight by attacking you or placing you in solitary confinement for an unreasonable amount of time. Beyond that, if you get sick or suffer an injury while incarcerated, you are entitled to medical treatment by a qualified physician.
Here are a few of the worst prisons in the Northeast U.S. when it comes to the civil rights of inmates:
Attica Correctional Facility in New York
Attica is infamous for the 1971 prison uprising that led to several deaths. Since then, there have been a number of other inmates who have alleged that their civil rights were neglected by prison staff and that the living conditions were inhumane.
Rikers Island in New York
Rikers is the main jail complex for New York City and houses more than 10,000 inmates. Neglect by prison staff has led to several lawsuits in recent years, with some inmates alleging that they were placed in solitary confinement for months or even years.
Sing Sing Correctional Facility in New York
Sing Sing is a maximum-security prison with approximately 1,700 prisoners. Gang violence is a major problem in Sing Sing, with numerous inmates reporting that they have been victims of aggravated assaults.
United States Penitentiary Lewisburg in Pennsylvania
This is a high-security supermax prison that houses inmates convicted of federal crimes. In recent years, the prison has been hit hard by spending cuts that led to fewer guards on staff. The problems caused by reduced prison staff have been magnified by overcrowding, resulting in numerous lawsuits alleging that inmates were forced to remain in tight quarters with known enemies who posed a threat of violence.
If you have been charged with a violent crime in New Jersey, you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney who will fight on your behalf. Contact the Law Firm of Stephen R. Piper today to schedule a free consultation about your case.