Estelle v. Gamble Case Brief

Facts of the Case

Respondent J. W. Gamble, an inmate of the Texas Department of Corrections, was injured on Nov. 9, 1973, while performing a prison work assignment. On Feb. 11, 1974, he instituted a civil rights action in federal district court under, against the petitioners, W. J. Estelle, Jr., Director of the Department of Corrections, H. H. Husbands, warden of the prison, and Dr. Ralph Gray, medical director of the Department and chief medical officer of the prison hospital. Gamble asserted that he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of thefor inadequate treatment of the injury he sustained during the prison work. The district court,, dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The court of appeals reversed and remanded with instructions to reinstate the complaint. The Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari.


Do certain conditions of confinement violate the individual liberty, due process, and privacy of pretrial detainees as protected by the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments through the Fourteenth Amendment?


“No and yes. In an 8-1 decision written by Justice Thurgood Marshall, the Court held that the prison’s treatment of Gamble did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. Justice Marshall acknowledged that the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments required the Texas government to provide medical care for prisoners