Rutgers University IRB defines a prisoner as the following:
"Individuals who are involuntarily confined or detained in a penal institution; other similar institutions (such as mental health institutions for criminals); sites for the detention of individuals pending arraignment, trial, or sentencing; or individuals on parole or probation"
QUESTION: Don't your rights get taken away when you go to prison?
ANSWER: Yes. Some of your rights are restricted when you go to prison like the right to liberty. However, this does not mean that all your rights are taken away. Most of your Constitutional rights are still protected. If you are a prisoner, you are also given specific rights that are found in the Prison Act of your country.
QUESTION: What rights does a prisoner have?
ANSWER: Under most Prison Acts, a prisoner has the right:
• To receive rations or meals;
• To receive clothing, bedding, soap and medicine;
• To exercise;
• To medical treatment;
• If a prisoner is female, to be kept separate from male prisoners;
• Not to be assaulted by prison guards unless he/she has attempted to escape, been riotous or violent, or has disobeyed an order;
• To make complaints to the Officer in Charge.
A prisoner may also have the right:
• To work reasonable hours;
• To be free from unreasonable searches at night time;
• To correspond with family and/or receive visitors; and
• To notify family members when sick.
BOTTOM LINE: Because prisoners rely on the state during their time of incarceration (ie, they cannot make a living, cook their own food, get their own health care, etc), the state has MORE of a responsibility to honor their rights.