In the LA County Jail, inmates have been sleeping on a mattress on the floor. The courts have declared this to be "cruel and unusual punishment," not because of discomfort or hygiene, but because of the indignity:
That many individuals, for cultural or health reasons, choose to sleep on the floor in no way detracts from this point. A predilection for camping under the stars or the soothing touch a hard futon may have on a sore back is entirely different in kind from stripping an individual of the option of using a bed. Quite simply, that a custom of leaving inmates nowhere to sleep but the floor constitutes cruel and unusual punishment is nothing short of self-evident.If George Bush had put the mattresses on the floor, it wouldn't be "cruel and unusual." It would be "torture."