When someone breaks the law in Utah, they may lose certain freedoms however there are prisoners’ rights that are to be upheld during the legal proceedings as well as after those individuals have been incarcerated.
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Human rights, often referred to as inalienable rights are given to all men and women for simply being human. These rights are indivisible and universal. They do not differ depending on gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, or language. In the United States, these rights are protected by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Internationally, these rights are protected under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations which defines rights of freedom of religion, life, and opinion while protecting all from discrimination, slavery, torture. No one is to deprive another of any basic human rights unless done legally through a court of law.
Although human rights are permitted by all, when someone is placed in jail or prison, they end up losing the right to exercise some of their basic civil liberties for a time such as:
• The right to freedom;
• The right to vote;
• The right to bear arms;
• The right to serve on a jury; and sometimes
• The right to life (death penalty).
An incarcerated person may temporarily or permanently lose the right to enjoy some basic human rights however prior to their arrest as well as during court and even while incarcerated, they maintain certain rights and protections regardless of the crime for which they are accused. These protections of prisoners’ rights are explained in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eight Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.
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The Fourth Amendment protects those suspected of a crime with:
• The right against unreasonable searched and seizures.
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution reads: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
The Fifth Amendment also protects those facing crimes with:
• The right to remain silent;
• The right against double jeopardy;
• The right to avoid self-incrimination;
The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution states: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
The Sixth Amendment
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If someone is charged with a crime and is facing a court of law, the Sixth Amendment ensures they have:
• The right to a speedy trial;
• The right to a public trial;
• The right to an impartial jury;
• The right to cross examine a witness;
• The right to an attorney;
According to the Sixth Amendment, “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.”
When someone is incarcerated, they continue to have rights. These include:
• The right to a reasonable bail; and
• The right against cruel and unusual punishment.
The Eighth Amendment wraps up the civil liberties allowed to all defendants as well as a prisoners’ rights while incarcerated. It states: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”
Legal assistance to protect human rights
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It is vital to those seeking legal counsel to understand their constitutional rights during an arrest as well as in court proceedings and prisoners’ rights if incarcerated. With the help of a qualified criminal defense attorney, these basic human rights will be upheld by law.