The Eighth Amendment pendulum swung back in 1991 when the Supreme Court in Wilson v. Seiter established a constitutional standard for such claims which, in all likelihood, will be virtually insurmountable.. This Note will first explore the Supreme Court's four major pre-Wilson rulings on the proper scope of the Eighth Amendment regarding claims of inhuman prison conditions. This review will show that these opinions, while containing a great deal of apparently applicable language, fail to specifically state whether a state of mind element is required for such claims. Second, this Note will describe the factual background of Wilson and the Court's holding and concurring opinion. Third, it will criticize both frameworks advanced, and suggest a particular application of the majority's holding which would ensure continued Eighth Amendment protection of prison conditions. This Note will conclude by depicting the Court's holding as a manifestation of evolving social and political factors.

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