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Abstract

This Article focuses on two separate issues deriving from the Eighth Amendment's "cruel and unusual punishment" clause. Specifically, it discusses classic conditions of confinement litigation and sentencing proportionality litigation. Confinement litigation includes cases challenging the lived experiences of prisoners such as overcrowding, excessive force, failure to provide adequate medical care, and deprivation of material needs. Sentencing proportionality litigation involves challenges to the length of a prison sentence or mode of punishment. The Article, unlike modern contemporary scholarship, attempts to draw connections between each doctrinal area, ultimately suggesting ways in which proportionality litigation can invigorate conditions litigation. Part I consists of a discussion of the history of the Eighth Amendment. Part II is an examination of the current divergence between the two areas. Finally, Part III consists of a suggestion of how to unite the two and weighing the pros and cons of such a change.

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