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According to Kumar's book "Human Rights," there has been an increase in inmate abuse, which is against both the American constitution and human rights, in most federal and state correctional institutions. (183). Prisoners are safeguarded from cruel and unusual treatment by correctional staff in the prisons under the Eighth Amendment of the United States (U.S.) Constitution. Additionally, the inmates must be given a minimal standard of living that includes, among other things offered in the correctional institutions, access to food, clothing, safety, and exercise opportunities. The abuse of prisoners’ rights is a common occurrence in correctional institutions due to the seclusion of the facilities and the lack of proper monitoring for this population. Prison officers of all ranks are required to maintain a code of conduct in their activities of overseeing correctional facilities and the prisoners accommodated in them. The responsibility of taking care of prisoners in the correctional facilities falls under the duties of the prison officers, and the abuse of prisoners is a violation of the code of ethics and conduct.
The officers in the correctional facility in are suspected to have violated the rights of some of the inmates by abusing them through beatings and trying to cover up the criminal act. Ethically, the problem identified is the violation of the rights of the prisoners who the officers were tasked with taking care of in the correctional facilities. Additionally, the officers involved in the criminal acts are in violation of their code of ethics and conduct in discharging their duties in the correctional facilities, which is equally a crime according to federal laws. The issue that arose was that lower-ranking officers who were on duty at the time beat up some of the prisoners violently. The incident is said to have happened while the wardens and high-ranking officers were present and they were aware of what was taking place and involved in the cover-ups. Profiling of Muslim prisoners was also an issue that was evident in the facilities as they were increasingly abused since the 9/11 attacks happened.
According to the code of ethics and conduct for correctional officers, they are required to adhere to a set of standards that apply to the moral principles in efficiently discharging their responsibilities. The purpose for a code of ethics and conduct is to serve as the basis of policy, protocol, rules and regulation, and directives, to aid in the operations and management of correctional facilities to function by providing justice with integrity and within the confines of the law ("Principles Of Professional Conduct | Correctionalofficer.Org"). Violations of the outlined code of conduct and ethics are liable to sanctions by the law and punishment that include dismissal and being charged in a court of law. Correctional officers are given necessary training on the handling of inmates and provided with the knowledge on the rights and responsibilities of inmates, parolees and other persons in non-prison environments (Calhoun and Coleman 114). This is done to create awareness and avoid instances of prison officers violating some of the rights of inmates unknowingly and to attach liability to the involved officers in the case of violation of the prisoners’ rights.
Since the investigation has found out that some of the correctional officers in the federal prison committed some criminal offenses, there is need to formulate appropriate penalties to punish the crime that was committed against the inmates. Beating up of prisoners is a violation of their human rights against cruel and strange punishment, which is a criminal offense and a violation of the eighth amendment of the constitution. This offense requires legal action, and the culprits involved both low and high-ranking officers in prison need to be arraigned in the courts of law for prosecution. Beating up inmates is also a violation of the code of conduct that requires the correctional officers to provide appropriate rehabilitation for the inmates during their incarceration period. The act of covering up these activities by the warden and some of the high-ranking officials is a violation of the code of ethics and conduct that demands the movement of inmates monitored and their progress documented at all time during their time in the correctional facilities. This violation requires the suspension and demotion of the officers who actively participated in the offense.
These stern actions if applied will ensure that the prisons are made aware of the importance of undertaking their mandate within the limits of the law and the need to maintain the code of ethics and conduct in delivering their duties. To bring to book the culprits involved in the criminal offenses in the correctional facilities, there is the need to engage the relevant prison authorities in consultation on the best course of action to take in this case. The need for discussion is to provide sound reasoning on the cause of actions to effect on the officers found guilty of abuse and cover-ups in the correctional facility. Consultations also give the relevant authorities with the appropriate information on the case and the findings of the investigation to assist in the determination of the proper punishment for the offenders.
In conclusion, prisoners are human beings and equally have rights that protect them from abuse, and it is the mandate of the correctional officers to protect the prisoners and preserve their rights to appropriate living conditions. The officers, in this case, are in violation of the law and the code of ethics and conduct in carrying out their responsibilities, as they are involved in the abuse of inmates and covering up the criminal acts. The low and high-ranked officers involved in the beating of prisoners need to be charged in a court of law for their violation of the constitution and disregard of the code of conduct and ethics of their profession. The high-ranking officers involved in the cover-ups and falsifying of inmate documents are guilty of violating the code of ethics and conduct of their job; therefore, those involved in the cover-ups should be suspended from duty for a given period and warned against such behavior in the future. The warden is also in violation of the code of ethics and conduct and having been involved in the misconduct, the right course of action is to have the warden dismissed. These legal actions will provide a warning to correctional officers against abuse of inmates and respect their rights in the prisons.
Calhoun, Avery J., and Heather D. Coleman. "Female inmates' perspectives on sexual abuse by correctional personnel: An exploratory study." Women & Criminal Justice 13.2-3 (2002): 101-124.
Kumar, Anuradha. Human Rights. Sarup & Sons, 2002.
"Principles Of Professional Conduct | Correctionalofficer.Org." Correctionalofficer.Org, 2017, http://www.correctionalofficer.org/professional-conduct.
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