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Racial Segregation in Prisons


Through the Civil Rights Act of 1964, “discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin,” was banned. This law not only applies in the workplace and schools but in prisons as well. However, many studies show that racial segregation is still prevalent in prisons today.

Rights of Prisoners

Prisoners in the United States, whether they are in a local jail, or state or federal prison, have the following rights:

  • Freedom from racial segregation (note: the only time racial segregation is allowed is if authorities deem it necessary for security reasons);
  • Freedom from sexual crimes or sexual harassment;
  • Medical care including mental health;
  • Personal property; and,
  • First Amendment protections such as free speech and the ability to practice their religion.

Why is Racial Segregation Still Happening in Prisons?

As noted above, racial segregation should not be happening in prisons unless authorities feel that there is a concern over the safety of prisoners. Unfortunately, many prisoners are still racially segregated even when there is no safety concern.

Many believe that current segregation in prisons is voluntary. One analysis suggests that this happens because inmates feel safer or more comfortable with people who look like them. The article also notes, though, that this practice does not prepare inmates for life outside prison walls where they are more likely to interact with a variety of people who may not look the same as them.

What HDR Law Can Do To Help

Were your or a loved one’s rights violated while incarcerated? The team at HDR Law handles prison litigation cases including:

  • Unreasonable jail conditions;
  • Violation of disability rights;
  • Lack of proper medical or mental health care;
  • Overcrowding; and,
  • Unnecessary use of force.

Our experienced prison litigation attorneys are ready to fight for you. Reach out online or by phone so we can get started on your case. (404) 341-4434