32 Sw. U. L. Rev. 317 (2003)
Home Sweet Hell: An Analysis of the Eighth Amendment's Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause as Applied to Supermax Prisons

handle is hein.journals/swulr32 and id is 327 raw text is: HOME SWEET HELL: AN ANALYSIS OF
THE EIGHTH AMENDMENT'S 'CRUEL
AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT'
CLAUSE AS APPLIED TO SUPERMAX
PRISONS
I. INTRODUCTION
Let me take you now into the universe of violence, as I have seen it
in the maximum-security prison.... Entering this woeful city feels
like entering the underworld, even though it is mostly above ground.
The architecture creates the illusion of being buried alive in an
underground concrete bunker.
These graves for the living are defined as supermaximum security
(hereinafter supermax) prisons.    Supermax prisons are   a
manifestation of the public's demand for increased security by means
of a get tough on crime approach to incarceration.2 Many favor the
concept, expressing their approval for institutions that emphasize
restrictions, reduce rehabilitation programs, and decrease the use of
incentives.' Powered by political fuel, the construction of supermax
prisons is on the rise in modern America.4 While depicted as a cure
for the unruly inmate,5 supermax prisons are more accurately
described as vehicles of psychological torture. The result is a growing
population of inmates suffering from psychological harm.
This Comment will address the questionable implementation of
solitary confinement at supermax facilities and analyze whether
conditions inherent in the supermax design violate the Eighth
1. JAMES GILLIGAN, VIOLENCE: OUR DEADLY EPIDEMIC AND ITS CAUSES, 31-32 (1992).
2. Richard H. Franklin, Assessing Supermax Operations, CORRECTIONS TODAY, July
1998 at 126.
3. Id.
4. Id.
5. Gregory L. Hershberger, To the Max. Supermax Facilities Provide Prison
Administrators With More Security Options, CORRECTIONS TODAY, Feb. 1998, at 54.

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