In July 2020, the New York Times published an article on a Department of Justice report detailing the systematic abuse of incarcerated individuals by prison guards within the State of Alabama’s Department of Corrections. This report evidences the challenges faced by incarcerated individuals seeking to vindicate their Eighth Amendment rights. In a legal sense, those individuals who turn to the court system for relief face an almost insurmountable burden of proof. This Note begins by surveying the history of excessive force claims under the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as deliberate indifference claims under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. This Note then analyzes the success rates of Fourteenth Amendment deliberate indifference claims depending on whether the circuit applies a purely objective standard or a standard with both an objective and a subjective component. Upon the basis of these findings, this Note concludes by advocating for the adoption of a single pronged, objective standard for all individuals seeking to challenge the conditions of their confinement under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.



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