Know Your Rights

Know Your Rights


You are eligible to vote even if you are in jail, charged with a crime, or have prior felony convictions, UNLESS:1

1. You are currently imprisoned for a crime for which you have been convicted (felony or misdemeanor)
2. You are currently on probation or parole for a felony
3. You have ever been convicted of a voting-related crime (felony or misdemeanor)

And, you are able to vote in jail. To learn how, you can call the Missouri Election Board at no charge at: (800) 669-8683.

Social Security or Disability Benefits

If you already receive SSI or SSDI benefits, you will continue to receive your benefits until you are in custody for 30+ days. After that, you will not receive your benefits.2

Unless you are in custody for more than a year or are convicted, your benefits will resume when you are released (the correctional facility will notify SSA).

If you are in custody for more than a year or end up being convicted and sentenced to serve 20 days or more in jail or prison, your benefits will be suspended. If they are suspended you will need to reapply to receive them again.

If your jail or prison has a “prerelease agreement” with your local Social Security office, you are able to apply or reapply for SSI or SSDI benefits while you are still incarcerated, IF you know your expected release date AND it is within a few months. If your jail doesn’t have a prerelease agreement, it might still be possible to apply early if you know your release date. Call SSA at 800-772-1213 to check.

Health Insurance

If you are on Medicare or Medicaid, any health-related services your jail or prison provides will not be covered and you may be billed for your medical care upon release.3 However, if you are hospitalized during your time in custody, your hospital bill should be covered by your existing Medicare or Medicaid policy.

Upon release your Medicaid should resume automatically, as long as you paid your “Part B” premium while in custody. You can pay it online, via autopay, or have someone mail in a check. If you have not paid it you will need to reapply once you are released.

Human Rights

You still have your human rights in custody. You have the right to: a sanitary environment, medical and mental health care, food, clothing, hygiene items, and to be free from unreasonably long solitary confinement.4

If you feel you are being treated unfairly, tell your lawyer! You deserve to have your basic human needs met, even in custody.

1RSMO § 115.133
3RSMO § 221.120; RSMO § 211.310; RSMO § 211.120

This information is provided for general informational purposes only. We have tried to make it as accurate and up-to-date as possible, but laws can change and your individual situation may be different. Nothing in this pamphlet should be understood as legal advice from MSPD. We expressly disclaim all liability that results from actions taken or not taken in reliance on this pamphlet. If you have further questions, please consult your lawyer.