How would you decide whether the conditions of a prison constitute “cruel and unusual” punishment?

How I look at “cruel and unusual” punishment I feel that the Under the Eight Amendment forbids “cruel and unusual punishment” and is probably the most important amendment for inmates in prison. Cruel and unusual punishment can be interpreted in many different ways. From prison guard showing excessive force, dangerous conditions, and the lack of medical care for prisoners. How I decide If prison conditions are cruel and unusual are when conditions of confinement such a institutions food, medical services and the treatment of the prisoners by correctional officers do not meet the standards of the Eight Amendment. This means if the correctional facility is aware of some danger or risk of harm to the inmate, as well as the officers chose not to take steps to fix the problem and if inmate’s fundamental rights are being violated as a result.

One of the most common claims is correctional officers using excessive force. This is a very hot topic in the news today with police officers outside of prison. However dealing with prison settings the use of physical force and restraints are commonplace and often times required to maintain good order, safety and discipline. This is very difficult for a inmate to prove but to do so the prisoner must show “deliberate indifference” this displays that it was more than mere negligent behavior on the part of corrections personnel. For the claim to be successful it must prove three points that the force was not in good faith; Not part an effort to restore discipline; and was based, even in part, on a malicious and sadistic intent.

We as Americans ignore many horrific conditions that inmates have to deal with on day to day bases. For example some prisons have broken toilets which means that cells smell of urine and feces. As well as extreme temperatures of hot and cold, prisoners being over crowed and living in cells intended for two but have four inmates. These health risks in prison are unacceptable and should be deemed cruel and unusual punishment. Yet it happens every day in prisons across the United States and with put it aside. This is not only morally and unconstitutional it is dangerous. This can cause prisons to have bacterial infection that runs through the entire correctional factuality.  A major issue in prisons is the sexual assaults that we are all aware of that happen in prisons but it seems as if the government does nothing to correct the problem.

Lastly are the solitary confinement issues that we use in prisons today I feel that this should only be used as a last resort. “United Nations special rapporteur on torture has concluded that more than 15 days in solitary confinement constitutes torture, more than 90% of the Rikers prisoners interviewed had been held longer than that often far longer.” This is consider as a form of torture but yet we still use it in many prisons today. Newman vs State of Alabama; the inmate showed by substantial evidence that the Alabama prison authorities have clearly abused their discretion in providing medical treatment to inmates. “providing that the medical needs of inmates have fallen far short of supplying the constitutionally required level of adequate medical treatment. The medical facilities of the Alabama prison system are grossly understaffed.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *