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Today we are going to be talking about prison rights and privileges. This is a question people often have when they are in jail. What counts as a right is something that prisoner can expect, vs a privilege which might be provided, but isn’t a guarantee. So here are the differences!

Right vs privilege

An inmate right is something that is guaranteed by either law or the constitution. This can be both federal and state laws, and can’t be suspended for any reason. A privilege, on the other hand, is something that can be granted, but is usually conditional and is often determined by whichever facility an inmate is in. These privileges can be revoked or allowed, and it is usually determined by good conduct.

Basic rights that are legally required are things like housing, clothing, a bed, mental and physical health care, legal aid, food, and drink. These are all things an inmate can count on being given.

Privilege is usually something like entertainment, comfort, recreation, etc. These are not protected rights and can be given or removed at the decision of the prison. These are privileges that some people can have and others can’t. The prison will classify each inmate based off of their behavior and sometimes off of their crime. It is possible to appeal this classification and get reclassified if the prison sees fit for this. Privileges can be things like how much time they are given for calls, or allowed out of their cell. It also will give them opportunities such as reading material or other things like this. Opportunities to work can also be given to some inmates. Another privilege is the ability to purchase items from the prison store. There are other privileges, but these are often determined by the options the jail has.

The best chance to get a privilege is to have good behavior, and this can lead to the ability to get extra freedoms. However, if you have a loved one in prison, you can be sure that they will have certain rights that they will be able to count on.