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Word Count: 1,198
Introduction This morning more than 20000 Australians will wake up in a prison cell What will their day bring In Australia a person over the age of 18 who offends or who is apprehended for allegedly doing so is dealt with in the adult criminal justice system Once convicted the prisoner can be jailed and is generally forgotten about by the general population Prisoner rights conditions access to health safety etc are mostly in conflict with administration policies which give administration discretion and convenience overriding importance in prison administration The Issue and History of Prisoner Rights Prisoner rights were a late developing chapter in the evolution of human rights philosophy The expression of such concepts can be found in the twentieth century human rights documents rather than common law The early documents setting out rights and liberties dealt mainly with the issues of rights at the point of entry into custody including excessive bail ought not to be required not excessive fines imposed nor cruel and unusual punishment inflictedBill of Rights 1689 England It is only in later human rights documents that concepts of rights of access to proper care medical treatment for all citizens were developed and prisoners included because Everyone Is Entitled to rights and freedoms and to equal protection of the law These statements include No one shall be subjected to torture or cruel in human or degrading treatment or punishment Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 United Nation articles 5 25 However public opinion about prisoners rights has often been negative as shown for example in the following summary of a 1976 Mc Nair Anderson poll where 11 of the population thought conditions in Australian jails were to severe but a 38 thought the conditions were to lenient Australian Law Reform Commission 1980page 144
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