Corrections looks at the correctional system and offers arguments for and against the practice of the laws and policies that comprise corrections, from parole and probation to imprisonment, to the application of the death penalty. The 20 included chapters, written by eminent scholars and experts in the fields of criminology, police science, law, sociology, psychology, and other disciplines, take on such contested topics as what the goals of the correctional system should be (deterrence, rehabilitation, retribution, or something else?) and how they should be achieved; who should make these decisions; and how to balance the goals of the correctional system with the civil rights of the inmates. Prison conditions and the treatment of prisoners, as well as the changing definition of cruel and unusual punishment, are also examined.The SeriesEach volume consists of approximately 20 chapters offering succinct pro/con examinations, and Recommended Readings conclude each chapter, highlighting different approaches to or perspectives on the issue at hand. As a set, these volumes provide perfect reference support for students writing position papers in undergraduate courses spanning the Criminal Justice curriculum. Each title is approximately 350 pages in length.
Chapter 3: Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
The prohibition on cruel and unusual punishments is presented in the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Eighth Amendment is one of the 10 amendments that make up the Bill of Rights, ratified in 1791 to protect individuals against potentially excessive actions by the federal government. The American authors of the Constitution and Bill of Rights borrowed the phrase “cruel and unusual punishments” from the English Bill of Rights of 1689, a statute enacted by the British Parliament. In the United States, the meaning and specific nature of protections provided by the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause of the Eighth Amendment are defined by judges, especially the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. Over the course of ...