Complaints About State And Local Jail Or Prison Conditions

Full Video Transcript

Unfortunately, problems occur in jails and prisons - and sometimes the conditions can be so bad that it affects the constitutional rights of the inmates. For instance, inmates may face problems with medical care, mental health care, fire safety, sanitation, abuse by staff or other inmates, and also with access to the courts. While jails and prisons certainly aren't perfect, when the problems are serious, they could actually violate the inmates' constitutional rights. Those situations could warrant investigation by the Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons, or other agency. For example, prison staff are allowed to use force "in a good faith effort to maintain or restore discipline" but cannot use force maliciously or for the purpose of harming an inmate. Also, it is unlawful if there are inadequacies in the facility's law library or other legal assistance actually deny the prisoner's access to the court system.There are other situations constituting unlawful prison conditions as well. For more information, visit the US Department of Justice website at

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