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During the last decade, the Supreme Court has applied the 8th Amendment's prohibition against the cruel and unusual punishments against some of the harsher sentencing policies implemented by different states. Three cases dealing with the juvenile offenders - Roper versus Simmons (2005), Graham versus Florida (2010), and Miller versus Alabama (2012) - describe this moderating trend. An underlying rationale of such decisions - 'disproportionality' - contrasts with rationales guiding the Court's earlier (pre- 2002) interpretations of the 8th Amendment (see Davis, 2008).

Respond to this three part problem in your initial post:

a) Describe the rationale that seems to guide the present Supreme Court majority's approach to defining 'cruel and unusual punishment'.

Contrast this approach with a significant rationale which seems to guide the pre-2002 Court.

Assess both of these approaches. Describe and validate your evaluation by drawing on persuasive evidence apart from your own personal opinion (ex: research findings from the sociology or criminal justice).

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