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MA Prison Conditions Might Amount to Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Richard Smith, a Massachusetts state prison at MCI-Concord, sued prison officials after being disciplined for fighting. He sued numerous guards and administrators in state court alleging a multitude of constitutional and statutory violations. Among them was a claim that he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment by being housed in a dormitory that was unsafe because there were no panic buttons, fire exits or surveillance cameras, and because the area was generally unsanitary. The state moved for summary judgment without addressing these allegations.

The Superior Court of Massachusetts granted the state's motion for summary judgment on all claims except the one for cruel and unusual punishment. On that claim the Court found that Smith's uncontroverted allegations stated a colorable claim under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Article 26 of the state's Declaration of Rights. Thus, the case was allowed to proceed on that claim. See: Smith v. Maloney, MA Superior Court, Case No. 996210 (2001 WL 755849) (unpublished).

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Related legal case

Smith v. Maloney