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Human Rights Issues in Correctional Systems in the Us, the European Union and Africa

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Human Rights Issues in Correctional Systems in the US, the European Union and Africa

Due Process

Lack of privacy and space in correctional facilities is a serious human rights issue in the United States due to its violation of due process. This violation has emerged due to overcrowding, which has become a defining characteristic of US correctional facilities. At any given time, there are 2 million prisoners in the US, more than the correctional facilities can accommodate. Two prisoners are crammed in cells built to accommodate one prisoner. More beds have been crammed into cells with the capacity of holding only one. 50 or more people are housed in one big room, depriving them of privacy and living space. In some cases, toilets and bathrooms lack doors and inmates are forced to use them in full view of their cell mates and guards. This is a direct violation of Due Process by the state as every human being has a right to privacy and living space (Cavadino & Dignan, 2010).

Assault of inmates by prison staff is another common violation of Due Process in the US. This stems from the allowance of the staff, by prison authorities, to use excessive force and violence to control the rising number of troublesome and violent prisoners. Deliberate physical harm is a direct violation of Due Process as both human rights and the US Bill of Rights state that all human beings have a right to a life, free of violence and physical harm (Cavadino & Dignan, 2010).

In many African correctional facilities, prisoners are provided with very little food. They are left to go hungry most of the time. Many prisons provide inmates with only two meals per day, which are insufficient in quantity. This is a violation of Due Process since governments have the obligation of protecting human rights, which require that every person has access to basic human requirements, such as food and water. The authorities, including those in prisons, have an obligation of ensuring that no citizen suffers from starvation. In South Africa, hunger and starvation is very common in correctional facilities. Prisoners often have to eat food of insufficient quantity and often go hungry. The last meal of the day is at around 3 pm and, sometimes, even as early as noon, forcing prisoners to go hungry for many hours during the day. Supper, comprising of a few slices of bread and powdered drink, is not unheard of (Crumpton-Kalunta & Agozino, 2004).

In England and Wales, the justice and correctional systems have an aspect of racial bias, which puts to question their legitimacy. 23% of the entire prison population is made up of ethnic minorities. This does not correspond to the percentage of the population made up of ethnic minorities, which is 9%. This shows that racial discrimination and bias is rife in the justice and correctional facilities of England and Wales. Moreover, many cases of racial discrimination

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