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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 116721
Experience:  Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
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What is the Federal Statute regarding space requirements for

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What is the Federal Statute regarding space requirements for inmates in a low security facility, i.e. Terminal Island, California at San Pedro?
How many square feet is the Federal Government supposed to allow each prisoner, especially one who is 81 years old and in very poor health? He requires an assistant to get him to the hospital for breathing treatments twice a day. In his current situation, he has to make a choice whether he eats or takes a breathing treatment. He has missed 8 meals in the past week. He has COPD and cannot afford to miss his breathing treatments. I consider this abuse in the highest degree. What can he do about this miserable situation. Oh yes, he is in a room that is 12x18 with 11 other men. The ventilation is very poor and they are very cramped. At one point a leper was placed in the cell with him.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

I am sorry to hear that he is going through this while incarcerated, but there are no federal statutory guidelines for "space requirements" for prisoners. Courts review each prison overcrowding case on a case by case basis for reasonableness based on the specific facts.

The denial of food or medical treatment would be considered a violation of his 8th Amendment Right against cruel and unusual punishment and the prison cannot deny him food in exchange for medical care nor can they force him to make such a choice and this (not the overcrowding) would be grounds for a civil suit. This is something that you need to get him an attorney to file a claim for an 8th Amendment violation over as that is the strong claim because as far as overcrowding goes, the courts generally would not find that 11 men in a 12 x 18 prison cell is a violation as courts consider prison to be punishment and not a convenience.

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