When you are facing criminal charges, your thoughts might turn to the possible penalties that you face. If you are convicted of a crime and sent to jail or prison, it is vital that you understand that you still have rights that are given to you in the Constitution.
The Eighth Amendment is one of the main sources for these protections. This amendment gives you the right to be incarcerated in a manner that is free from cruel and unusual punishment. This means that even though you are sent to jail or prison, you can't be tortured or treated in a cruel manner. Being subjected to inhumane conditions or conditions that violate your basic human dignity might violate this amendment.
While many defendants hope to stay out of jail or prison, there are some cases that will end in an incarceration sentence. Even when everything is done from a defense standpoint to minimize the length of the incarceration, even a short stint in prison or jail can be difficult if the conditions go against these Eighth Amendment rights.
Generally, you will have to show some very specific points if you are filing a complaint about a violation of your Eighth Amendment rights. This includes showing that the employees were aware of the issue, failed to act on the issue and that your rights were violated by the issue.
If you are facing criminal charges right now, it might be putting the cart before the horse to worry about your Eighth Amendment rights. Still, knowing these rights ahead of time is a good idea. It is also a good idea to explore your options for a defense right now so that you can decide how to handle your case.
Source: FindLaw, "Cruel and Unusual Punishment," accessed Sep. 10, 2015