Don't Jail Them, Flog Them

Esther - posted on 08/08/2011 ( 20 moms have responded )

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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):

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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.

The rationale?

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.

Links: http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/...
http://harpers.org/archive/2011/07/hbc-9...

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Sara - posted on 08/08/2011

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I think a better way to reduce the prison population in the US is to legalize drugs. But that's just me.

Charlie - posted on 08/08/2011

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Kelly " As of yet, there is no way to check if a person is under the influence of pot or other drugs at a given moment. "

I just wanted to point out that in Australia we have roadside drug testing ...just like roadside alcohol testing. they take a swab of your mouth and it reads what you have in your system to see if you are driving under the influence ...surely the US could adopt that.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 08/08/2011

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Emma I agree with that. Increasing the minimum wage to a living wage would do wonders. Also making daycare more affordable would assist as well. But sadly that makes sense. And what politicians want to make sense?

Stifler's - posted on 08/08/2011

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Reducing poverty would be a much better way to reduce the amount of people in jail. Although it might cost just as much so of course... it's out of the question.

Charlie - posted on 08/08/2011

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What is drug testing?

Drug testing looks for traces of drugs in the body using samples of urine, breath, hair, saliva, or sweat. Testing may be used to detect illegal drug use, as well as the use of drugs not permitted while driving, or in specific workplaces or sports.

Passing a drug test may mean that either the drug is no longer in your body, or that the test cannot detect the traces that remain.
What types of types of drug tests are used?
Standard Impairment Assessment (SIA)

In Victoria, police use the Standard Impairment Assessment (SIA) to test drivers they believe may be under the influence of drugs. The test will show impairment equal to, or higher than, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05.

There are four parts to the assessment:

Interview and observation
Physical impairment test
Walk and turn test
One leg stand test.

Saliva tests

Random roadside drug testing, in Victoria and most other states and territories, uses saliva samples to detect illicit drugs.

A sample of the driver’s saliva is taken by specially-trained police officers, using an absorbent collector placed in the mouth or touching the tongue. This test takes about three to five minutes. If the test is positive, it must be confirmed by laboratory testing before charges can be laid.

In Victoria, roadside saliva tests detect drugs that contain:

THC (Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol), the active component in cannabis
methamphetamine, which is found in drugs such as "speed", "base", "ice", and "crystal meth"
MDMA (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine), which is known as ecstasy.


These tests do not detect the presence of legally prescribed drugs or common over-the-counter medications.

How long will drugs stay in my system?

Drugs and alcohol affect every person differently, so drug testing results will be unique to each individual.

Results can be affected by:

the strength of the drug or alcohol
how much you have taken
how you have used it
how often you have used it
other drugs you have taken.


Results can also be affected by your:

tolerance
sex and age
overall health and wellbeing
metabolism
mood, and the environment you are in.


How long can they be detected?

Cannabis: Random roadside drug testing can detect cannabis for at least several hours after use. Even after a small amount of cannabis you should not drive for at least five hours. Even though you may not feel the effects, the drug may still be detected in a test.

Methamphetamine ("speed", "ice") may be detected for at least 24 hours after use by random roadside drug testing. Note that the withdrawal effects of methamphetamine, such as fatigue, anxiety and irritability, can also lead to unsafe driving.

Alcohol use is very risky for young people and the longer children delay alcohol use, the less likely they are to develop any problems associated with it. may be detected for at least 24 hours after use by random roadside drug testing. Taking large doses, using other drugs at the same time, and even your own particular metabolism, can affect the length of time you will feel the effects of ecstasy.

Alcohol use is very risky for young people and the longer children delay alcohol use, the less likely they are to develop any problems associated with it. The liver takes an hour or more to break down the alcohol in one standard drink. A standard drink is equivalent to 10 grams of alcohol, as is found in 100ml of wine. For more information on standard drinks, see the DrugInfo fact sheet, “What is a standard drink?”.

It is important to remember that you may still be affected by alcohol the next morning. This is particularly important for drivers required to keep to a zero BAC limit.

If you are taking medication it is best to talk to your doctor about whether you are safe to drive. Also check whether your medication will be affected if you drink alcohol.
Staying safe

The only sure way to test negative on a drug test—other than not taking drugs—is to make sure your body has eliminated all of the drugs you have taken.

Most drugs take at least 24 to 48 hours to leave your body. This means that even if you are not drunk or stoned any more, these drugs can continue to affect your body. If you are taking more than one drug at a time (including drinking alcohol), the drugs may take even longer to be eliminated from your body.

Avoid driving whenever you have been using alcohol or other drugs. Also remember that even if you feel like you are OK to drive, you are still likely to be affected and unsafe on the roads.

If you intend to use alcohol or other drugs and need to travel, plan ahead by:

organising a driver who will not be using any alcohol or other drugs
arranging to be picked up
using public transport or a taxi
arranging to stay overnight.


It is important to remember that alcohol and other drugs can continue to affect you the next day. Fatigue, hangovers and “coming down” can also affect your driving ability.
Taking more than one drug

People who have more than one drug in their system will be more impaired, and have a higher risk of having a car accident. The risk is increased when the content and purity of illicit drugs are unknown.

http://www.druginfo.adf.org.au/fact-shee...

20 Comments

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Angela - posted on 02/25/2013

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I quite like the idea of flogging. It would save SERIOUS amounts of public money. And offering the defendant the choice of the flogging or a custodial sentence takes away the notion that they were inflicted with a barbaric punishment which they had no choice other than to accept.

However, the theory only works on the assumption that every law breaker is in good health without any chronic conditions or disabilities. The truth is that criminals are not always fit and healthy and to even offer a sick or disabled person the choice of flogging versus custodial sentence means they have NO choice, they select the custodial sentence. Then it becomes a disability rights issue, because the able-bodied, fit & healthy criminal got more choice and was able to avoid jail.

And we're back into the constraints of political correctness!

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 08/08/2011

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As far as drugs go marijuana may be illegal in British Columbia but that doesn't stop everyone and their ugly 2nd cousin from smoking it in public. Especially at the beaches here. The CMP's don't exactly turn a blind eye to it, but they usually just give you a look and let you on your way. At least that's what I've seen here in the Okanagan. They seem focus on more important things like if your fire extinguisher is expired on your boat and if you have a waterproof flashlight (they were focusing more on that down in Vancouver over the weekend) That's not to say that the CMP doesn't do anything else though. If you go 40KM/h over the speed limit they take away your vehicle for a month. And they do crack down a bit on drunk driving. But with BC being the leading marijuana producing province in the country I don't believe anyone really considers pot smoking as serious of an issue as they did back in New York.

Kellie - posted on 08/08/2011

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I've never understood how using violence stops anything. IMO violence creates violence, it doesn't facilitate good behaviour.



I don't believe in fear based anything. All it does is make you suppress your true emotions/thoughts/feelings and that's NEVER a good thing, it makes it so much worse when it all explodes in your face.



A better individualised rehabilitation process whilst in jail would be a better idea. Working with each person using a process designed for their own particular needs (yes using a blanket model but tailoring it to each individual) would be much better.



Changing the way the system works such as using a diversion scheme could be a better option too. So different courts for different "needs", such as drug/alcohol offences go to the Drug and Alcohol diversion court and so on, we even have Nunga Courts here for the Aboriginal People as their native system is vastly different from the white mans and our laws don't seem to make an impact because culturally they have different needs/understandings.



If we saw people as people and therefore differing in needs instead of just jumping to the "quick lets hit them" into submission approach maybe crime would decrease IDK.

[deleted account]

I agree, I hate the idea of corporal punishment, and I don't think it would work, but the argument is compelling and our current prison system is failing miserably.

Feen, we do have roadside drug testing, but it only tells if drugs are in your system, not whether you are impaired at that moment. Drugs can still be in your system long after the affects that would make it dangerous to drive have ended. Does the testing you have just check for drugs in the system, or can it tell if the person is actually impaired at the moment? Are pot and other drugs legal in Australia...Sorry, I know that's a bit off topic, but I'm really interested in it.

Charlie - posted on 08/08/2011

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As for coporal punishment ...I am against it , if a man is sent to jail for abusing his wife he is a criminal if that man is then whipped until blood is draw than the whipper in my eyes is just as bad .

We are just excusing the same sick actions .

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 08/08/2011

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While I don't condone corperal punishment (We don't have the death penalty at all in Canada and only certain states *cough TEXAS *cough* still have it) I feel that we should go back to some older forms of punishment. Such as public humiliation. Nothing too cruel mind you, just minor things.

And please excuse the randomness of my post as I'm also feeding my 5 month old. I'll post more when both hands are free.

Esther - posted on 08/08/2011

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I wasn't arguing with you Kelly :) I just find the author's reasoning intriguing. I am personally opposed to corporal punishment (including the death penalty) but I have to say I think he makes a compelling case. I don't think letting the judge decide would fly because then it would be considered cruel & unusual punishment and therefore unconstitutional. But if convicts decide they'd rather endure some flogging than spend a significant amount of time in prison, and voluntarily subjected themselves to it, then that would probably take care of any constitutional objections. I'm still uncomfortable with the concept, but I agree that the prison system as it stands is completely broken and something needs to change.

[deleted account]

When it was used regularly as punishment, it didn't seem to stem crime at all. Neither did placards across the chest or putting people in stocks.

[deleted account]

Esther, I think we are agreeing....sorry, i just read my post and it wasn't that clear, but in my defense, I was in a hurry :P

I agree that prison doesn't work, for the same reasons that you and the author stated. American prisons do not rehabilitate...I think some SAY they do, but they don't. And because of the war on drugs, we have people serving 30 years for possession while rapists get out in an average of 3 years, and murderers rarely serve more than 7 years, so they are not protecting us from violent offenders either. Our prisons are doing basically nothing.

I don't agree with corporal punishment for discipline, but at this point, it's sort of worth a try, and given that spanking is legal here, there should be no moral objection. I don't think the criminal should have a choice though; I think the judge should decide.

Esther - posted on 08/08/2011

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Kelly - this is what the author who is proposing the flogging alternative has to say to that:



Let’s debunk the notion that the drop in crime is due to incarceration. In truth, there is very little correlation between incarceration and the crime rate. 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?



This mess was not inevitable. We have seven times as many prisoners today as we did in 1970. We certainly do not have seven times as many criminals. Incarceration is less an effect of crime than of longer sentences and the war on drugs. Have we still not learned the lessons of prohibition?



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.



I agree that some offenders usually need to be locked up — pedophiles, terrorists, serial rapists, murderers — but there aren’t very many of these people. And they need to be incarcerated because we have reason to fear them. For most other crimes, flogging would be better. Arresting a drug dealer, for instance, does not reduce drug use. It simply creates a job opening.



Incarceration can actually increase crime. We know that the children of incarcerated parents — and we’re dealing with well over a million such children — are more likely to become criminals. We also know that people who do time are more likely to commit crimes when they get out, and that 95 percent of prisoners are released. I believe crime has decreased not because of our massive level of incarceration, but despite it.



This gets to the core issue of prisons: they fail at their basic mission of “curing” the criminal. We need to abandon the utopian ideal that prison is good for the soul. What could be a worse environment for rehabilitation than years of confinement surrounded by a bunch of criminals?



We need to give criminals the resources they need to lead non-criminal lives. But giving housing, jobs, education, and health care to ex-convicts is a tough sell, especially when we don’t even give these essentials to non-criminals.



Without rehabilitation — which most prisons don’t even pretend to attempt — we’re left asking the basic question “Why prison?” The answer is always deterrence and punishment. Well, there’s no reason to think flogging would be any less of a deterrent than incarceration. And prisons don’t punish well, at least not relative to the amount we spend on them. Could we not spend the current $30,000 per year per prisoner more productively?



Admittedly there may be other, better ways to punish — methods that involve neither prison nor flogging. I certainly hope so. But as it stands, we’re stuck with prisons because we lack alternatives. Harsh as it may be, flogging is more humane, less destructive, and much cheaper than what we have now.



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p.s. I wanted to emphasize that he wants to offer the convicted a choice between flogging or prison time. They would not be flogged unless they opted for that.

[deleted account]

The problem with legalizing drugs/marijuana is that it would make our roads very dangerous. As of yet, there is no way to check if a person is under the influence of pot or other drugs at a given moment. We can test for it in their system, but if they are driving under the influence of pot and kill someone, they could get off completely because pot stays in the system for days after the "high" is past. As it is, having it in their system is a crime in itself and can help convict people who drive while still under the influence. Once we have technology to treat it like driving under the influence of alcohol, where we can test their abilities at the moment, I would have no problem legalizing it.

Our prisons do nothing to rehabilitate criminals. They go in and do nothing but learn more criminal ways.

I don't know about flogging.....Spanking is legal here and a lot of people seem to think it works, so I guess we could legalize flogging. A flogging is A LOT more severe, but then carjacking an old lady is a lot more severe than throwing your bear across the room. The problem with flogging, I think, would be that the criminal is back on the streets to commit more crimes. If the purpose of prison is not to rehabilitate, then is it not to remove the criminal from society and thus protect the remaining citizens from his/her behavior? If it is neither of those, what is the purpose?

Carolee - posted on 08/08/2011

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Since he brought up that we have more prisoners than Marines... I think that we should send convicted murderers and "hardened criminals" with violent offences to fight our wars.

Flogging might be good for some offences, though.

Rosie - posted on 08/08/2011

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i'm not sure, lol. legalizing marijuana would help an awful lot IMO, there would be millions let out. not sure punishing people who aren't violent offenders really works all that much. think of it like children i guess. positive reinforcement works better than punishment. but maybe by the time they are adults it's too late? idk. flogging does sound nice right about now for congress though....

Krista - posted on 08/08/2011

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I agree with Sara. Legalizing marijuana would drastically reduce the prison populations. Flogging doesn't sit well with me at all.

However, there have been times that I wished we could bring back the stocks. I think the stocks would be a great punishment for things like vandalism. :)

Caitlin - posted on 08/08/2011

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I kind of like it.. It makes me sound horrible, but I think the jail system here isn't working very well, and it's not much a deterant to crime, because a lot of people live better in jail than they can afford to live out of jail, so they just offend again to go back. Society needs to find a more effective way of punishing offenders so that they will not offend again, and so far have failed miserably...

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