Wilson v. Seiter
Inmates have been filing lawsuits in ever-increasing numbers since the federal courts made it easier for them to gain access to the courts in the 1960s. Inmates have frequently filed suits alleging that prison conditions such as overcrowded cells, inadequate restroom facilities, and unsanitary kitchens constitute violations of the prohibition of “cruel and unusual punishment” in the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A number of lower federal courts issued opinions in the 1970s and 1980s attempting to define the prison conditions that might constitute cruel and unusual punishment, but it was not until 1991 that the U.S. Supreme Court, in Wilson v. Seiter , clarified the issue by providing a definition of cruel and unusual punishment as applied to so-called conditions of confinement lawsuits. Pearly Wilson, an inmate at the Hocking Correctional Facility in Ohio, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. §1983, alleging that certain conditions of his confinement constituted ...