Who are the Punishers?

36 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2017 Last revised: 21 Jan 2018

See all articles by Raff Donelson

Raff Donelson

Chicago-Kent College of Law - Illinois Institute of Technology

Date Written: September 25, 2017


The Eighth Amendment is a list of deeds not to be done, but it does not say who is not to do them. This Article specifically examines whom the Eighth Amendment bars from inflicting cruel and unusual punishments. The Supreme Court has thus far applied the Eighth Amendment to a narrow class of parties, consisting of just legislatures, criminal courts, and those who execute punishment such as prison officials. Under the framework presented in this Article, the class of potential punishers should be much wider. Those who work in jails and other detention centers, public and private school officials, and even parents of juveniles should be considered potential punishers for Eighth Amendment purposes.

Keywords: Eighth Amendment, Punishment, Constitutional Interpretation, Pragmatism

Suggested Citation

Donelson, Raff, Who are the Punishers? (September 25, 2017). 86 UMKC Law Review 259 (2017), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2941480

Raff Donelson (Contact Author)

Chicago-Kent College of Law - Illinois Institute of Technology ( email )

565 W. Adams St.
Chicago, IL 60661-3691
United States

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