Citizens of the United States, both those who are unencumbered by the criminal justice system and are free and those who are serving time behind bars after a criminal conviction, have rights. Being arrested, charged, and then convicted of a crime in California is never the intended outcome for a defendant, yet convictions happen every day. Jail time as a consequence of a conviction is also common, but serving time does not make you less of a human or a citizen of the country. You still are entitled to basic rights under the United States constitution.
If you do not know what your rights are, you will have a much harder time understanding situations in which you may not be treated equitably. Understanding your rights can help you keep the dignity you are entitled to as well as protect you from inhumane abuse. David M. Boertje is a San Diego criminal defense attorney who offers experienced and skilled legal counsel and defense to individuals who are arrested for crimes in San Diego. A conviction can have many life-long negative implications. Having the most proficient legal defense supporting you is important to improving the chances that you see the best outcome possible, including avoiding having to spend time in jail.
What Rights Do You Have While You are Serving Time in a California Jail?
An arrest is a suspicion of a crime, not a confirmation of one. When you enter the criminal justice system, you are innocent until proven guilty, and you should be treated like this. When it is proven that you committed a crime, you will face punishment for that offense. If your penalty includes jail, while you are behind bars you are afforded the following protections:
- You can not be treated in a cruel and depraved way.
- You must be granted access to services and resources that are available to support a disability or illness if you have one.
- You have the ability to connect with and use the court system if you need to, so if you have a complaint you are allowed to voice it.
- You do not lose due process while in the prison system. For example, if it is alleged that you committed a crime while you were incarcerated you can use witnesses and other evidence to defend yourself. You will not be granted professional legal representation, but you have the right to fight back against the accusations.
- You must be able to get the treatment you need for physical and mental issues.
- You must not be discriminated against.
- You have the right to practice your religion without obstruction and if you do not have a religion, you cannot be forced to partake in religious practice.