Inmates deemed ‘dead’ using century-old law in Rhode Island
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island is one of the few places where people can still be punished with “civil death” and civil rights advocates want the century-old practice to stop.
Inmates serving life in prison are deemed dead, by Rhode Island statute, with respect to property rights, the bond of matrimony and other civil rights, as if their natural death took place when they were convicted.
Most civil death laws in the United States have been repealed or successfully challenged in court. Most other countries never adopted the practice.