Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952514 | Print ISBN: 9780761927310 | Online ISBN: 9781412952514| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Prisoners are entitled to dental care while incarcerated because of the U.S. Constitution's Eighth Amendment that forbids the use of cruel and unusual punishment by the government. In the view of the U.S. Supreme Court, this civil liberty applies to prisoners incarcerated in federal, state, and local facilities. This means that the government may not demonstrate “deliberate indifference to [the] serious medical needs” of prisoners ( Wynn v. Southward , 251 F.3d. 588, 593 ). Such serious medical needs can include dental care. In Wynn , for example, a prisoner alleged that when he was moved to an isolation unit, the attending prison official deliberately misplaced, among other things, his dentures. As a result, according to this prisoner, he suffered “bleeding, headaches, inability to chew his food, humiliation, shame, and ‘disfigurement’” ( Wynn v. Southward , 251 F.3d. 591 ). The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals subsequently ruled that Wynn ...