THE 4 - THE 4 1 Discuss the U.S Supreme Court decision in...

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THE 4 1. Discuss the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Hudson vs. McMillan with particular emphasis on the contrasting viewpoints of justices O’Connor and Thomas in their interpretation of the eighth amendment violations. (H/O 11, Hudson Case, H/O 4 pg 319) Hudson, who was a prison inmate in the state of Louisiana, was beaten by two correctional officers while being transported between units on the penitentiary grounds. He filed a law suit against the officers for violating his 8 th amendment under Title 42. The trial court awarded Hudson, and then a higher court of appeals reversed it by saying that the injuries suffered were not sufficient enough to be cruel and unusual. Finally, the Supreme Court agreed with Hudson and said that the excessive force used by the correctional officers was cruel and unusual punishment regardless of the severity of injuries. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote the majority opinion stating that “when prison officials maliciously and sadistically use force to cause harm, contemporary standards of decency always are violated. This is true whether or not significant injury is evident.” She used the Whitley case as a backbone for many decisions made in this case. All in all, O’Connor states that physical pain and punishment can be cruel and unusual even though the injuries aren’t severe. Justice Clarence Thomas on the other hand argued the dissenting opinion, claiming that the physical punishment that was used was not necessary, but not “cruel and unusual.” He voices is opinions about how it seems that the law is liberalizing itself by allowing any deprivation not inflicted as part of a sentence of a crime to be considered “cruel and unusual” punishment. Thomas claims that “abusive behavior by prison guards is deplorable conduct that properly evokes outrage and contempt. But that does not mean that it is invariably unconstitutional. He used the Estelle case to support his argument. 2. Note the differences between the terms detention facilities, jails, and prisons and their specific purposes in the criminal justice process. (Pgs 332-340) There are two categories of prison facilities, detention facilities and correctional facilities. The purpose of detention facilities is not to house convicted felons, but instead to house persons arrest and undergoing processing, awaiting trial, or awaiting transfer to a correctional facility after conviction. Correctional facilities are where convicted offenders serve their sentence. Correctional facilities include county jails and state and federal prisons. County jails are places for confinement administered by local officials and designed to hold persons for more than forty-eight hours but usually less than one year. Their purpose is generally to temporarily detain prisoners and house people service sentences for misdemeanors. However some county jails also house those awaiting trial or transfer. State and federal prisons are institutions in which offenders serve sentences longer than one year. While county jails house people serving sentences for misdemeanors, federal and state prisons house people serving sentences for felonies.
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