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Justice ! What a word. It is the entire process of bringing a wrongdoer into justice via investigation by way of arrest, charges, trials, sentences or the worst , life imprisonment. 

Today’s talk revolves around the Sprawling Southern Califonia City – Los Angeles. LA is the Hollywood Icon and the platform for Paramount Pictures. Walk of Fame honors thousands of luminaries and vendors sell maps to stars homes. 

How cool and Luxurious the city is will not affect the prisoners in the cells of LA. Well, of course being a prisoner is never a wonderful factor but is it supposed to include being raped by a follow prison member? Assaulted and unjustly beaten off by the security? Killed by negligent medical practitioners? Victims are many. Could be men, women and children. Researches and data prove that they do not adhere the fact that “Prisoners are also Humans”. 

The report produced by the American Civil Liberties Union describes about the Men’s Central Jail and Twin Towers Correctional Facility (Los Angeles). One main highlight was the number of prisoners packed up in the cells as many of them are transferred by the overcrowded Californian prisoners under the state’s court-ordered reorganization scheme. Many complaints arising out of incidents of Rape, Assault and Battery are hidden by evidence but only a poisoner behind the bars know the story of their own. The question is, where is Justice have really gone?

A prison cannot be a place leading by slow torture. Overcrowding, violence, sexual abuse, and other conditions pose grave risks to prisoner health and safety. Mistreatment of prisoners based on race, sex, gender identity, or disability remains far too common. Excessive force by correctional staff, particularly through the use of electroshock devices like Tasers and stun guns, leads to extreme, unnecessary suffering and sometimes death. Rape and sexual abuse of prisoners—by staff and other prisoners—remain serious problems in detention facilities of all kinds.There are now more than 200,000 women behind bars and more than one million on probation and parole. Many of these women struggle with substance abuse, mental illness, and histories of physical and sexual abuse. Few get the services they need. The toll on women, girls, and their families is devastating.

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Every day, in courtrooms, legislatures, and the public square, the ACLU fights to ensure that the criminal justice system treats women and girls fairly, protects the health and safety of women and girls in its custody, and facilitates their successful reentry into their communities.

General needs have to be fulfilled as prisoners are people too and to deny their humanity is deny our own. Taking the current COVID19 circumstances in to the story, Nearly half of all federal prisoners infected with coronavirus are in Southern California, with massive outbreaks uncovered at Lompoc and Terminal Island after authorities expanded testing. As of the latest news, there were 823 inmates who tested positive in Lompoc, and another 644 at Terminal Island. In Lompoc two inmates have died, while six at the San Pedro facility have succumbed to the illness, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) website. In fact the facilities provided to the Prison cells are found to be minimum though LA happens to be one of the richest states in the USA. They have investigated and found out that there are not enough soap and toilet papers for prisoners to maintain their hygiene. Where in one incident, shameless they have reported that the prisoners are using their bed sheets instead of toilet paper rolls in order to survive in the prison cells of LA.

Apart from the black side of this story, it is a must to mention about all the facilities provided by the government for the cell prisoners such as, Educational Programs for Adults, Post-Secondary Education, Library services, Treatment programs like Anger Management, Criminal Thinking, Family Relationships and also there are Pre- release Programs such as Career Technical Education related to Technology and Electronics and so on. It is wonderful to find out of these benefits they enjoy. Mental Health is important for any prisoner because it is essential to recreate and stabilize your mind to do the right thing. Most of the prisoners are locked up today because of the mental imbalance they have throughout their criminal or civil intention to commit crimes. Therefore they should be treated accordingly and treated lawfully irrespective of the fact that they are serving their prison time. 

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The UN Human Rights commission is the body that states, Except for those limitations that are demonstrably necessitated by the fact of incarceration, all prisoners shall retain the human rights and fundamental freedoms set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and, where the State concerned is a party, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Optional Protocol thereto, as well as such other rights as are set out in other United Nations covenants. Further more the UN identifies that with the participation and help of the community and social institutions, and with due regard to the interests of victims, favourable conditions shall be created for the reintegration of the ex-prisoner into society under the best possible conditions.

As I have mentioned above, the unheard stories and the unfair, unreasonable scenarios they have faced and experienced are immensely high. Though there are so many bodies and government authorities to protect them and stand for them, the reality speaks another language. Perhaps the private sector has no business getting involved with the prison system. The sole objectives of prisons should be deterrence, protection and rehabilitation, rather than profiting by depriving others of their liberty. It is highly questionable whether the criminal justice system should be a business.

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There are many stories, types of criminals and shocking facts about the gangster world that we live in. All we need is some mercy and Humanity ! 

Hoping to see you in another Episode of the same. Hope you enjoyed the read !

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Written by Manuri Karunadhara |Lon.LL.B (Hons) Attorney-at-Law, of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka
Team Unisnap





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