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After conviction, prisoners may find themselves losing some of their fundamental rights. The rights that you enjoy or lose vary from state to state. For example, Vermont and Maine allow inmates to vote, while voting rights are withdrawn in the other 48 states.  The fundamental rights that inmates lose range from privacy to voting rights. This article looks into seven fundamental rights that you may lose after conviction.

Privacy rights

Unlike other citizens, inmates lose their right to privacy. Prison officers can warrantlessly search them and cells for drugs, weapons, or any other illicit possessions. But, again, the cells guarantee very little personal privacy as congestion is common at times.

Voting rights

Different states have different laws that govern voting of prisoners. For example, Vermont and Maine states allow prisoners to enjoy their democratic rights while the other states withdraw such rights. This loss of voting rights is commonly known as felony disenfranchisement. Luckily, most states allow former convicts to apply for restoration of voting rights after release.

Right to own firearms

While in prison, inmates are not allowed to access or own firearms for security reasons. But, after release, they can petition to have such restored. The ease of restoration of firearms rights varies from one state to another. In most cases, restoring these rights is only possible after federal/governors’ pardon or felony expungement.

Employment rights

Criminal conviction hugely affects employment rights and employability. When undergoing imprisonment, convicts lose minimum wage employment rights. Although employers may not deny employment based on criminal records, the law prohibits the employment of former convicts in some sensitive sectors. For example, felons are not liable to work as teachers, law enforcers, public officers, armed officers, childcare specialist, and many more.

Traveling rights

The U.S is serious about national security and public safety. So it usually imposes travel bans on people linked or convicted of crimes such as drug trafficking. Similarly, some other countries restrict movements of people presumed a national threat.

Parental rights

Convictions of capital offenses pose some restrictions to parenting. For example, parents convicted of serious crimes such as murder or manslaughter may completely lose their parental rights. The situation becomes worse if the convict is associated with child abuse or neglect.

Public benefits

Federal and some state laws prohibit criminal convicts from seeking federal cash assistance, state grants, public housing, and other related benefits.


People lose some of their fundamental rights after conviction. For example, there is little or no privacy in prison, no participation in voting, and no freedom of movement. However, after release, ex-convicts can apply to have the rights restored.

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