Good evening all. This week, my client is Johnny, and I am going to explain why the prison’s treatment of him violates Johnny’s 8th Amendment rights against cruel and unusual punishments.
First of all, I do not believe my client’s past conviction should bear any weight in this scenario, as he was not even involved in the altercation that led to the warden’s initial disciplinary actions. Despite his stellar record of model behavior, my client was still judged and punished again by the warden for a crime that a court already decided on. While imposing a series of mass punishment across the board indiscriminately may not have unfairly targeted my client, he still unnecessarily suffered from them. Additionally, and most egregiously given the totality of the situation, my client should certainly have not been placed into solitary confinement for six months without provocation or some sort of due process.
I would argue that being in solitary confinement over extended periods of time (such as in this case) would meet the constitutional standard of being cruel or unusual. This type of punishment is incredibly difficult, both physically and mentally, and I would argue that this shows a wanton disregard and a deliberate indifference for my client’s health and well-being. This type of treatment is forbidden by the 8th Amendment. Lastly, the case Solem v. Helm affirmed that barbaric punishments would be considered cruel and unusual under the 8th Amendment as well. I would challenge anyone to argue that it would not be cruel to place a man in solitary confinement for six months as an in-house punishment for the actions committed by other prisoners.