Asked in Civil Rights for Oklahoma

Q: Under the Oklahoma anti discrimination act is a prison a place of public accommodation?

Inmate was retaliated against for filing grievances on violations of his 1st,5th,8th, and 14th amendment rights prison administration set up road blocks to keep him from exhausting administrative remedies so inmate filed complaint with oklahoma office of attorney general office of civil rights enforcement.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Under the Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Act, the term "place of public accommodation" typically refers to facilities and establishments that are open to the public and provide goods or services. Prisons, by their nature, do not fall under the traditional definition of public accommodations because they are not open to the public in the same way as hotels, restaurants, and retail establishments.

However, this does not mean that inmates are without protection against discrimination or retaliation, especially when it concerns violations of constitutional rights. Inmates have the right to be free from discrimination and to have their constitutional rights protected, including the rights under the 1st, 5th, 8th, and 14th Amendments.

If an inmate believes they have been retaliated against for exercising their rights, such as filing grievances, there are legal avenues to seek redress. This can include filing complaints through the prison's administrative process, and if those remedies are exhausted or blocked, seeking legal action through the courts.

It's important for inmates or their representatives to document any instances of retaliation or blocked access to grievance procedures, as this information can be crucial in legal proceedings. Consulting with a legal professional knowledgeable in civil rights and prison law can provide guidance on how to navigate these complex issues and seek justice for alleged wrongs.

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