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Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Justice Breyer Insists Death Penalty Is Cruel, Even When Supreme Court Won't

The Huffington Post | Cristian Farias | Posted 05.03.2016 | Politics

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up the case of a death-row inmate that might have struck down California's death penalty system. The cour...

Prosecutorial Discretion Run Amok

Bennett L. Gershman | Posted 04.21.2016 | Crime
Bennett L. Gershman

Lee Carroll Brooker, a 76-year-old decorated and disabled combat war veteran was sentenced to die in prison for growing marijuana in his backyard. He ...

Virginia Governor Scraps Electric Chair Law

The Huffington Post | Kim Bellware | Posted 04.11.2016 | Politics

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) has killed a bill that would have given the state power to put people to death by electric chair. Instead, he added ...

Justice Scalia Calls Out A Colleague For Flip-Flopping On Juvenile Justice

The Huffington Post | Cristian Farias | Posted 01.28.2016 | Politics

Justice Antonin Scalia didn't make it to the Supreme Court this week, but he did leave a snippy note for Justice Anthony Kennedy in a major juvenile j...

Supreme Court Sides With Children Automatically Sentenced To Die In Prison

The Huffington Post | Cristian Farias | Posted 01.25.2016 | Politics

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled that children automatically sentenced to die in prison should get an opportunity to try for a more lenient sent...

'Wichita Massacre' Brothers Get Zero Sympathy From The Supreme Court

The Huffington Post | Cristian Farias | Posted 01.20.2016 | Politics

WASHINGTON -- When the U.S. Supreme Court heard an unusual two hours of arguments in October to consider Kansas' death penalty regime, Justice Antonin...

Too Long on Death Row to Die

Jessica S. Henry | Posted 01.19.2016 | Crime
Jessica S. Henry

A 2016 execution date for a murder that happened in 1979. I mean, what's the point? None of the reasons we punish hold true here.

Waiting on the Commissary

Chandra Bozelko | Posted 12.21.2015 | Crime
Chandra Bozelko

Mississippi prisons are so rife with gang violence that a federal court ruled that it's cruel and unusual punishment just to have inmates reside in th...

Solitary Confinement Makes Mass Incarceration More Problematic

Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith | Posted 12.17.2015 | Crime
Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith

State officials in New York are reforming their policy of keeping people convicted of non-violent offenses in solitary confinement. Some hail the decision; others, including corrections officers, object, saying that solitary confinement is necessary to maintain control, and they say that keeping an individual in solitary confinement is not inhumane.

Teens Sentenced To Die In Prison May Not Get A New Day In Court -- Yet

The Huffington Post | Cristian Farias | Posted 10.14.2015 | Politics

Henry Montgomery has spent more than 50 years behind bars after his conviction for killing a sheriff's deputy in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was 17 at ...

Justice Breyer Couldn't Save Richard Glossip, But He Won The Day Anyway

The Huffington Post | Cristian Farias | Posted 10.03.2015 | Politics

When lawyers for Richard Glossip filed a last-minute request with the Supreme Court late Tuesday to halt his execution, the justices were already fami...

Triple Déjà vu: Punishments Lacking Principles

Jessica S. Henry | Posted 10.02.2015 | Crime
Jessica S. Henry

Three different state trials resulted in the same unfair outcomes: death for those that did not physically participate in the killings, and life for those who did. Looking at each of these cases is like having a really bad case of triple déjà vu.

Against Solitary Confinement

Michael Shammas | Posted 09.22.2015 | Crime
Michael Shammas

Don't get me wrong: The most immoral prisoner has earned his government-sponsored home. Quite thoroughly. But by treating him in an inhumane manner that extends beyond confinement, we too become all too human. We too commit a moral wrong.

Prisoners' Struggle Ends Indefinite Solitary Confinement

Marjorie Cohn | Posted 09.15.2015 | Politics
Marjorie Cohn

The purpose of the penal system is social rehabilitation, according to the ICCPR. In contravention of that mandate, the California legislature has specified that the purpose of sentencing is punishment. Solitary confinement implicitly denies any chance of social rehabilitation.

The Death Penalty Is Barbaric, Let's Torture Instead! Capital Punishment and the Supermax Alternative

Ronald A. Lindsay | Posted 05.05.2016 | Crime
Ronald A. Lindsay

Because of the unacceptably high possibility of an erroneous conviction, I am a reluctant opponent of the death penalty. Reluctant, because some murderers undoubtedly deserve to die.

Inventor Of Lethal Injection: 'I Am Ambivalent About The Death Penalty'

The Huffington Post | Katie Sola | Posted 04.29.2015 | Politics

The man who invented the lethal injection method of execution told The Guardian that miscarriages of justice and botched executions have changed his m...

Blasting Away Black Faces and Lives

Warren J. Blumenfeld | Posted 03.22.2015 | Crime
Warren J. Blumenfeld

Why does Chief J. Scott Dennis believe it to be good policy and practice to further target (literally and figuratively) people who have paid for their past mistakes? Does he think his policy has no real impact on the loved ones of those whose pictures his officers blast away?

Oklahoma Plays Torture Roulette With Lethal Injection

Cassy Stubbs | Posted 03.17.2015 | Politics
Cassy Stubbs

The logical response to Clayton Lockett's bloody, pain-filled, unconstitutional execution in Oklahoma eight months ago would be to prevent such torture from happening again. But Oklahoma has another idea for its first execution since Lockett's.

'Cruel and Unusual Punishment' of the Entire Trans Community

Dana Beyer | Posted 02.02.2016 | Queer Voices
Dana Beyer

A recent First Circuit Court of Appeals decision regarding one trans woman, Michelle Kosilek, serving a life sentence for murder in a Massachusetts men's prison, was decided 3-2 on appeal on a claim brought under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Feinstein Torture Report

Chris Weigant | Posted 02.09.2015 | Politics
Chris Weigant

We can't pretend it wasn't torture anymore, because the facts weren't swept under a historical rug this time.

Sanitizing the Death Penalty

Mugambi Jouet | Posted 07.27.2014 | Politics
Mugambi Jouet

Just like opposing torture does not mean one condones terrorism, opposing the death penalty does not mean one condones murder.

Could Oklahoma's Death Penalty Become the Lethal-Injection Alpha and Omega?

Adam Banner | Posted 07.23.2014 | Crime
Adam Banner

Could the newest "shot heard 'round the world" be the lethal injection of Oklahoma death-row inmate Clayton Lockett? After all, his 45-minute death struggle has been denounced by the UN and will likely have a profound impact on the nature of capital punishment in the United States.

Death to the Death Penalty

Marjorie Cohn | Posted 07.15.2014 | Politics
Marjorie Cohn

It is high time for all the states in this country and the federal government itself to outlaw capital punishment. There is no good reason to retain it, and there are compelling reasons to abolish it.

Crime and True Punishment: A Botched Execution or Dead-on Justice?

Steven Kurlander | Posted 07.08.2014 | Crime
Steven Kurlander

in this quest to reduce the "cruel and inhuman" nature of the death penalty, society also reduces the pain, loss of freedom and even loss of life that some say should be imposed for the kind of violence the unrepentant Lockett committed.

Another Inmate Starves to Death

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz | Posted 07.07.2014 | Politics
Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

In theory, U.S. law protects even prisoners. A combination of a "get-tough" attitude coupled with ignorance of medical issues can result in tragedy, in which the prisoner has no redress.