prisoner | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Corrections

In the criminal justice context, a prisoner is a person who has been convicted of a crime and is serving a sentence of confinement in a correctional facility.

The purpose of imprisonment is to punish offenders, protect society from dangerous individuals, and rehabilitate prisoners to prepare them for reentry into society. Prisons may also serve as a place for pretrial detention, where individuals who are awaiting trial are held in custody if they are deemed a flight risk or a danger to the community. Prisoners are subject to strict rules and regulations, and their freedoms are restricted in a number of ways, including limits on movement, access to resources, and communication with the outside world.

They may be required to participate in educational or vocational programs to help them acquire skills and prepare for reentry. They may also receive counseling or treatment for substance abuse or mental health issues. The conditions in which prisoners are held have been the subject of much debate and controversy, with concerns raised about overcrowding, inadequate medical care, and abuse of prisoners’ rights. The rights of prisoners are protected by the Constitution and federal and state laws, and prisoners have the right to challenge their conditions of confinement through the legal system.

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Last Modified: 03/13/2023


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