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The quality of sleep is important for everyone, including prisoners

Posted by Sara Cooper | Aug 31, 2023 | 0 Comments

Incarceration isn't anything close to humane, including the living conditions in prisons. Requirements for facilities such as heating and cooling, daily meals, and enough time to sleep should be with both good quality and quantity. However, we know these necessities aren't consistent or even within the mandated standard.

Back in 2019, a federal court ruled in favor of the numerous amount of claims made by prisoners about regarding cruel and unusual punishment due to the lack of sleep they were permitted to have. Even with little wins, comfortability within a prison is a statement that is not any close to being achieved.

This federal case was based on a California county jail that only allowed 5 hours of lights out time for prisoners along with extremely loudspeakers to wake them up from their sleep, as early as 2:30am to take medications before eating their breakfast at 4am. To worsen the conditions, overnight maintenance shifts in the facility that were enforced, disrupting prisoner's sleep.

The judge also issued a preliminary injunction that would require practices within the prison to be changed, including making the mandate to give prisoners a full 6 hours of sleep each night on weekdays and 7 hours on weekend nights. The extra hour might not seem like the biggest difference, but with so many other factors including loudspeakers and overnight work on maintenance, this is an hour that is crucially needed.  

To prove that cruel and unusual punishment occurs in prisons, it is a difficult process like no other. There has been much struggle to show that prisons do not offer relief from hot weather that makes indoors even have higher temperatures to suffer through, making that an Eighth Amendment violation despite it happening often.

Within the control of these facilities however includes sleep deprivation, how certain factors contribute to the quality of sleep for each prisoner, these are violations of civil liberties that the institution is placing onto incarcerated persons and their overall well-being; practices and policies should abide by the law, especially our civil rights.

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