All across the country, prisons are overflowing. In California, the prison system has nearly double the number of inmates that it is designed to hold. The overcrowding has led to unsafe working conditions for prison employees, inadequate medical facilities to care for the prisoners, and a large increase in the spread of disease and illness within the prisons. This has led to lawsuits by inmates and concerned groups who argue that the basic human rights of the inmates is being violated.
To remedy the problem, federal judges recently ruled that 57,000 inmates in California are to be released. Of course this does not sit well with everyone. Some are opposed arguing that the rights of the inmates are being protected while the safety and the rights of law-abiding citizens are being put at risk. You can read an article concerning this issue here.
This issue leads to some interesting questions. First, what rights, if any do prisoners have? Do they forfeit their rights when they commit their crime(s)? If so, what rights do they lose / retain? Secondly, whose rights should have priority in this situation? Should we violate the human rights of prisoners to protect society? Or, should we protect the rights of the prisoners while putting others at greater risk? Lastly, what is the solution to this problem? Is there one?