The Eighth Amendment of the Constitution prohibits punishment that is excessive, cruel, or unusual. Since these are kind of vague, some case-law refers to “evolving standards of decency.” It appears that some standards are evolving more quickly than others, and “hackers” are somehow seen as less sympathetic than rapists.
What the Amendment Means
The text of the Amendment says:
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.