8th Amendment Pros And Cons

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According to Kosuke Imai, a professor in the Department of Politics at Princeton, an inmate in one of California’s thirty-three adult facilities dies every five to six days due to “constitutional deficiencies in the medical delivery system” (Qtd. in Plata v. Brown 7). When a prisoner has a serious illness that could cause death if untreated, it is extremely unjust to delay or deny that prisoner the treatment and/or the medication that he or she needs. Not only is refusing to provide proper healthcare to prisoners morally unfair, but it is also a violation of the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Eighth Amendment forbids both the federal and state governments from imposing cruel and unusual punishments (U.S. Constituion),…show more content…
Due to severe overcrowding in California’s adult facilities, inmates receive unconstitutional treatment from a flawed medical system. In Plata v. Brown, a federal class action civil rights lawsuit that was originally filed in 2001, it was claimed that the CDCR’s, or the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s, medical services are insufficient and violate not only the Eighth Amendment, but also the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (Plata v. Brown). The Supreme Court conceded that shortages in prison medical care violated the prisoners’ Eighth Amendment rights and “stipulated to a remedial injunction” (Plata v. Brown 9). The court appointed a Receiver in 2005 because California failed to comply with the injunction, and the court found that “the California prison medical care system is broken and beyond repair” (Plata v. Brown 9). This Receiver claimed that the poor medical system could only be fixed by reducing overcrowding (Plata v. Brown 11). In the appeal from the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Northern Districts of California, it is stated that California’s prisons are designed to hold 80,000 inmates, but at…show more content…
There are many solutions to this problem, but a lot of them are controversial. One way to fix the issue of overcrowding, which would improve the medical system, is to create more opportunities for early parole for nonviolent offenders (Hartney). Two examples of these opportunities are meriting time credits for good behavior and participating in vocational and educational programs (Hartney). Another solution is to implement drug courts, which are treatment programs for drug abusers run by the court (Hartney). These drug courts involve extensive supervision, drug testing, regular court appearances, and a reward system for those who comply with protocol (Hartney). A solution that seems very simple is to build more prisons in California in order to accommodate the extra prisoners. However, the construction of new prisons would require an increase in taxes and most California residents do not want to pay higher taxes for prisons. In order to see what Californians think of building new prisons, The Times and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, conducted a survey that in 2011 that involved 1,507 registered California voters (Dolan). Less than twenty-five percent of voters want to pay higher taxes in order to build more prisons and only twelve-percent of the respondents said that they would accept less

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