International treaties, conventions, and declarations provide basic guidelines for the treatment of prisoners. However, those guidelines are routinely ignored by the U.S. criminal justice system. Meanwhile, the United States continues to criticize other countries for violations of prisoners’ human rights. “Inalienable rights: Applying international human rights standards to the U.S. criminal justice system” is meant to help illuminate—and eliminate—this hypocritical double standard.
It’s clear that the concepts of human rights law need to find their way into the U.S. police, court, and prison justice systems. One way this can happen is if prisoners, their families and loved ones, and prisoner rights advocates weave the language of international standards and treaties into their arguments for humane prison conditions and treatment of prisoners.