cruel and unusual punishment

Cultural Dictionary

cruel and unusual punishment definition


Punishment prohibited by the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution. Cruel and unusual punishment includes torture, deliberately degrading punishment, or punishment that is too severe for the crime committed. This concept helps guarantee due process even to convicted criminals. Many people have argued that capital punishment should be considered cruel and unusual punishment.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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WordNet
cruel and unusual punishment

noun
punishment prohibited by the 8th amendment to the U.S. Constitution; includes torture or degradation or punishment too severe for the crime committed 
WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.
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