Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

Back on the Chain Gang: Why the Eighth Amendment and the History of Slavery Proscribe the Resurgence of Chain Gangs

Tessa M. Gorman
California Law Review
Vol. 85, No. 2 (Mar., 1997), pp. 441-478
DOI: 10.2307/3481074
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3481074
Page Count: 38
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
Back on the Chain Gang: Why the Eighth Amendment and the History of Slavery Proscribe the Resurgence of Chain Gangs
Preview not available

Abstract

Historically, American chain gangs were instruments with which to terrorize, control, and humiliate African Americans. In 1995, the chain gang reappeared as a method of punishment in Alabama prisons, thus resurrecting a powerful and shameful symbol of this country's legacy of racial injustice and institutionalized racial oppression. This Comment argues that chain gangs violate the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of "cruel and unusual punishments." The Eighth Amendment proscribes punishments that do not comport with "evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society." The author suggests that a punishment's historical connotation and effect on individual dignity should be essential components of an Eighth Amendment analysis. Arguing that the chain gang's historical connection to slavery is inescapable, and that the punishment represents an affront to human dignity, she concludes that chain gangs offend the Eighth Amendment's mandate and should be condemned as a form of cruel and unusual punishment.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
441
    441
  • Thumbnail: Page 
442
    442
  • Thumbnail: Page 
443
    443
  • Thumbnail: Page 
444
    444
  • Thumbnail: Page 
445
    445
  • Thumbnail: Page 
446
    446
  • Thumbnail: Page 
447
    447
  • Thumbnail: Page 
448
    448
  • Thumbnail: Page 
449
    449
  • Thumbnail: Page 
450
    450
  • Thumbnail: Page 
451
    451
  • Thumbnail: Page 
452
    452
  • Thumbnail: Page 
453
    453
  • Thumbnail: Page 
454
    454
  • Thumbnail: Page 
455
    455
  • Thumbnail: Page 
456
    456
  • Thumbnail: Page 
457
    457
  • Thumbnail: Page 
458
    458
  • Thumbnail: Page 
459
    459
  • Thumbnail: Page 
460
    460
  • Thumbnail: Page 
461
    461
  • Thumbnail: Page 
462
    462
  • Thumbnail: Page 
463
    463
  • Thumbnail: Page 
464
    464
  • Thumbnail: Page 
465
    465
  • Thumbnail: Page 
466
    466
  • Thumbnail: Page 
467
    467
  • Thumbnail: Page 
468
    468
  • Thumbnail: Page 
469
    469
  • Thumbnail: Page 
470
    470
  • Thumbnail: Page 
471
    471
  • Thumbnail: Page 
472
    472
  • Thumbnail: Page 
473
    473
  • Thumbnail: Page 
474
    474
  • Thumbnail: Page 
475
    475
  • Thumbnail: Page 
476
    476
  • Thumbnail: Page 
477
    477
  • Thumbnail: Page 
478
    478