Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 10 (1994)

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Opinion of the Court

supra, at 102 (quoting Trop v. Dulles, 356 U. S. 86, 101 (1958) (plurality opinion)). Being violently assaulted in prison is simply not "part of the penalty that criminal offenders pay for their offenses against society." Rhodes, supra, at 347.

It is not, however, every injury suffered by one prisoner at the hands of another that translates into constitutional liability for prison officials responsible for the victim's safety. Our cases have held that a prison official violates the Eighth Amendment only when two requirements are met. First, the deprivation alleged must be, objectively, "sufficiently serious," Wilson, supra, at 298; see also Hudson v. McMillian, supra, at 5; a prison official's act or omission must result in the denial of "the minimal civilized measure of life's necessities," Rhodes, supra, at 347. For a claim (like the one here) based on a failure to prevent harm, the inmate must show that he is incarcerated under conditions posing a substantial risk of serious harm. See Helling, supra, at 35.3

The second requirement follows from the principle that "only the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain implicates the Eighth Amendment." Wilson, 501 U. S., at 297 (internal quotation marks, emphasis, and citations omitted). To violate the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause, a prison official must have a "sufficiently culpable state of mind." Ibid.; see also id., at 302-303; Hudson v. McMillian, supra, at 8. In prison-conditions cases that state of mind is one of "deliberate indifference" to inmate health or safety, Wilson, supra, at 302-303; see also Helling, supra, at 34-35; Hudson v. McMillian, supra, at 5; Estelle, supra, at 106, a standard the parties agree governs the claim in this case. The parties disagree, however, on the proper test for deliberate indifference, which we must therefore undertake to define.

3 At what point a risk of inmate assault becomes sufficiently substantial for Eighth Amendment purposes is a question this case does not present, and we do not address it.

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