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Cruel And Unusual Punishment Essay

1015 words - 5 pages

Is it okay to give someone ten years in prison for stealing an outfit they thought was cute? Is it okay for a police officer to beat someone just because they are not in favor of their race? Cruel and unusual punishment has been a part of society since the government began and still exists today. People everywhere are being unfairly punished and this is unconstitutional according the the Eighth Amendment. Many authors have portrayed this unfairness in novels such as Sue Monk Kidd’s Secret Life of Bees. Throughout history cruel and unusual punishment has been a widely discussed topic and is evident in Sue Monk Kidd’s Secret Life of Bees through the struggles of characters in the book.
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This law is an illustration for how the cruel and unusual punishment clause had developed throughout the years of its existence. This clause has been shaped and molded throughout history and will continue to change as the interpretations of “cruel and unusual” change also.
Cruel and unusual punishment has not disappeared and it still evident and interpreted in today’s society. Kozak discusses in her book The Everything: US Constitution Book, “Recent cases have argued that the very existence of the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment” (Kozak 162). This shows that even today the cruel and unusual punishment clause is still being debated on how it should interpreted for certain laws, such as the death penalty. Right now this punishment is still legal, but interpretations may change as opinions change with the times. In the article by National Paralegal College the author explains, “In addition to the prohibition against the punishment being disproportionate to the crime, the application of punishments could also raise Eighth Amendment concerns” (“Protections from Cruel and Unusual Punishments”). This explains how today more interpretations are coming from the cruel and unusual clause of the Eighth Amendment. These interpretations include how legislatures can not create laws that are considered “cruel and unusual”. This clause from the Eighth Amendment is still a widely discussed topic in U. S. society today and is portrayed in many forms of American literature.
The theme of cruel and unusual punishment is evident in Sue Monk Kidd’s Secret Life of Bees. After Rosaleen was arrested and she was at the police department Lily thinks to herself, “That was when the dealer lifted the flashlight over his head, then down, smashing it into Rosaleen’s forehead. She dropped to her knees” (Kidd 35). This is a crucial example of cruel and unusual punishment because it was completely unacceptable for the police officer to let the men beat up Rosaleen even more after she was arrested. It is highly cruel...

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