Cruel and Unusual Punishment

The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects criminal defendants who are convicted of a crime from cruel and unusual punishment while incarcerated. The Constitution guarantees inmates fundamental rights concerning the conditions of confinement and how corrections officials may treat them.

If you are facing criminal charges and are worried about your punishment, a criminal defense attorney may help you understand the consequences of a conviction or plea bargain. Connect today by filling out our free online evaluation form or calling 877-445-1059.

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Cruel and Unusual Punishment Definition

There is no universal definition of cruel and unusual punishment; however, any punishment that violates basic human dignity or is inhumane may be considered cruel and unusual.

Most legal scholars agree that the rule for sentencing is that the punishment should fit the crime. This still leaves room for interpretation if a punishment may not fit the crime, such as capital punishment.

Currently, 15 states and Washington D.C. have outlawed the death penalty, and many more have banned certain forms of execution. The Supreme Court has also ruled that capital punishment is cruel for juvenile offenders and the mentally handicapped.

Proof of Cruel and Unusual Punishment

When an inmate challenges the conditions of confinement, proof must be shown that the institution’s officials acted with deliberate indifference to the inmate’s constitutional rights. Deliberate indifference is a high legal standard to meet, and the inmate must show more than just negligent behavior of the institution’s officials or employees to prove a claim of cruel and unusual punishment.

To prove deliberate indifference, the following facts must be established:

  • The institution’s personnel was aware of danger or risk of harm to a prisoner;
  • Employees chose to ignore the problem; and
  • The inmate’s fundamental rights were violated.

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Find a Criminal Defense Lawyer to Protect Your Rights

One of the most important jobs of a criminal defense attorney is protecting the rights of his or her clients. If you have been arrested or convicted of a crime and are concerned about your constitutional rights, consider speaking with a criminal defense attorney.

Schedule a free, no obligation consultation with a local criminal defense lawyer today to find out more about what may happen in your case. Fill out our free online evaluation form or call us at 877-445-1059.

The above summary of cruel and unusual punishment is by no means all-inclusive and is not legal advice. For the latest information on these laws, speak to a criminal defense attorney in your area.