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INDIFFERENCE: THE VERY ESSENCE OF CRUEL PUNISHMENT

What is indifference? 

There are two ways to look at indifference: morally and legally. 

Moral indifference is cold and callous behavior  whereby the suffering of another is ignored and minimized because of the belief that their humanity is less than your own, they deserve whatever they get, and/or their suffering brings you satisfaction. This can be manifested in the form of simply turning a blind eye to someone being hurt or harmed. It can also be active, such as not simply failing to intervene, but creating the conditions that cause the pain and suffering. 

Legal indifference refers to the use of moral indifference in an official capacity to violate the constitutional rights of those in the custody of the government. In this case, indifference is a legal term where the conditions we are fighting to eliminate violate Eighth Amendments guarantees against cruel and unusual punishment. For example, in Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97 (1976), the Supreme Court established that the Eighth Amendment may be violated due to factors related to a prisoner's confinement. A prison guard's deliberate indifference to a prisoner's serious illness or injury constitutes cruel and unusual punishment and violates the Eighth Amendment.

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