Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Definition - What does Cruel and Unusual Punishment mean?

Cruel and unusual punishment is punishment that is so severe, unfair, or terrible that it is forbidden by law. The Eighth Amendment to the Constitution forbids the practice of cruel and unusual punishment. Examples of cruel and unusual punishment include torture or severe maiming. Cruel and unusual punishment can come in many different forms.

Justipedia explains Cruel and Unusual Punishment

In the American justice system, the punishments are supposed to fit the crimes. When an extreme punishment is given out for a crime which is disproportionate to it, this is called cruel and unusual punishment. An example of cruel and unusual punishment would be setting a person on fire because they have been found guilty of theft. Before the Constitution was written, punishments for crimes could vary to extreme measures. The Eighth Amendment was included in the Constitution to protect convicted persons from unfair treatment.

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