Hope v. Pelzer, 536 U.S. 730, 27 (2002)

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Thomas, J., dissenting

For example, a year before the conduct at issue in this case took place, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama rejected the Eighth Amendment claim of an Alabama prisoner who was attached to a restraining bar for five hours after he refused to work and scuffled with guards. See Lane v. Findley, No. CV-93-C-1741-S (Aug. 4, 1994). The District Court reasoned that attaching the prisoner to a restraining bar "was a measured response to a potentially volatile situation and a clear warning to other inmates that refusal to work would result in immediate discipline subjecting the offending inmate to similar conditions experienced by work detail inmates rather than a return to inside the institution." Id., at 9. The District Court therefore concluded that there was a "substantial penological justification" for attaching the plaintiff to the restraining bar. Ibid.

Both the Court and petitioner attempt to distinguish this case from Lane on the grounds that the prisoner in Lane was "offered regular water and bathroom breaks" while on the restraining bar. See ante, at 747, n. 12; Reply Brief for Petitioner 16, n. 5. But this argument fails for two reasons: (1) Respondents McClaran and Pelzer were involved only in the May 11 incident, and it is undisputed that petitioner was offered water and a bathroom break every 15 minutes during his 2 hours on the bar that day; and (2) petitioner, as previously mentioned, has never alleged that respondent Gates was responsible for denying him water or bathroom breaks on June 7.

The same year that it decided Lane, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama dismissed another complaint filed by an Alabama prisoner who was handcuffed to a restraining bar. In that case, the prisoner, after refusing to leave prison grounds with his work squad, was handcuffed to a restraining bar for eight hours. Temperatures allegedly reached 95 degrees while the prisoner was attached to the bar, and he was allegedly denied

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