Opinion: Prisoners’ rights

POSTED: 06/12/12 12:37 PM

The Court in First Instance has established that the Pointe Blanche Inmates Association, and by extension the inmates in the prison, have the right to express their opinion, the right to association, the right to assembly and the right to demonstration. Basically, this means that prisoners have the right to go on strike. That is to say, they are entitled to refuse to work within the prison system.

That idea does not sit well with everyone, but the reality is that the law applies evenly to all citizens. Inmates do not have the freedom to come and go from the prison as they please. After all they are incarcerated for a reason. But that does not mean that they also lose their basic citizen’s rights.

The state regulation supersedes national ordinances – like the one that regulates the prison system – and when articles in such ordinances contradict it, the State Regulation prevails.

Inmates are aware that they are undergoing punishment in the prison, but yesterday’s court ruling has made clear that they too have rights, and that those rights are inviolable.

One becomes an inmate by breaking the law; the responsible party for the prison system is expected to play by the rules – and rightly so.

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