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Walden University Prison Conditions and Punishments Discussion


The first prison in the United States opened in 1790. Shortly thereafter, in 1791, the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution was established, which includes a clause against the use of “cruel and unusual punishment.” The court’s interpretation of this clause has evolved over time, just as punishments and prison conditions have evolved. Some punishments and prison conditions have been deemed “cruel and unusual” while others have not.

For this Discussion, select one of the following topics to discuss in terms of its history and evolution within the correctional system and the degree to which the Eighth Amendment applies:

  • Prison conditions (access to fresh air, light, and medical care, sanitation and hygiene, and overcrowding)
  • Punishments (hard labor, corporal punishment, solitary confinement, capital punishment)

Post a response that addresses the following:

  • Summarize briefly the historical origins and evolution of the topic you selected (prison conditions or punishments).
  • Would any of the conditions or punishments you described violate the Eighth Amendment’s clause of cruel and unusual punishment? Why or why not?
  • Support your argument with evidence from the Learning Resources. You may also incorporate relevant professional experience.


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