Friday, September 30, 2022

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Rights Related to Conditions of Confinement and The Use of Force Against Prisoners.

The Eighth Amendment protects prisoners against cruel and unusual punishment during confinement. In reviewing a prisoner's Eighth Amendment claim, the Supreme Court has distinguished between two kinds of official conduct: (1) that which is part of the punishment formally imposed for a crime, and (2) that which does not purport to be punishment, such as conditions of confinement, medical care, and restoration of control over inmates. Formally imposed punishment is unconstitutional if it is "totally without penological justification," such as "the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain," or punishment "grossly out of proportion to the severity of the crime." The Supreme Court has stated, however, that "harsh" conditions and rough disciplinary treatment are part of the price that convicted individuals must "pay for their offenses against society." A prisoner challenging official conduct that is not part of the formal penalty for a crime must demonstrate (1) a "sufficiently serious" deprivation, and (2) that officials acted with a "sufficiently culpable state of mind." Courts have found a sufficiently serious deprivation where a prisoner was deprived of "the minimal civilized measure of life's necessities," such as food, warmth, or exercise.

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