Esther - posted on 08/08/2011 ( 20 moms have responded )
I'm copying this post directly from Andrew Sullivan's blog. Thought it posed an interesting idea worth debating (although I'm personally oposed to corporal punishment period):
It's a novel idea, and at first you think it's a joke. But in fact, he's deadly serious. And he has direct experience with crime as a former Baltimore cop and now professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.The main impulse of judicial flogging is to reduce the prison population in America which is, indeed, grotesque. Scott Horton interviews him and the whole interview is worth a read. Money quote:
The actual flogging would be done as it is in Singapore and Malaysia, where it involves tying a person down, spread-eagled, on a large structure, pulling down his or her pants, and flogging the bare behind with a rattan cane. Make no mistake: it’s painful and bloody. It’s not a gentle spanking. But the process is over in a few minutes. Then a doctor can tend to the wounds and the person can go home.
I think merely presenting the choice helps us question the purpose of prison, and suggests how destructive incarceration is for the individual and society. It’s worse than flogging.
Between 1970 and 1990 the total prison population in the U.S. rose by a million, and crime rose, too. Since then we’ve locked up another million, and crime has gone down. Is there something special about that second million? Were they the only ones who were “real criminals”? Did we simply get it wrong with the first 1.3 million we locked up? If so, can we let them out? ...
We have more prisoners than soldiers, and more prison guards than U.S. Marines. We have more prisoners — by rate and number — than any other country in the history of the world: more than Stalin had at the height of the Soviet Gulag, and more than China has now. And China has a billion more people than we do! Something has gone terribly wrong.