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The humanitarian case for corporal punishment in the criminal justice system

Linkat

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If you turn on the news in today's society you'll see a lot of reports related to criminality. Murderers, rapists, terrorists, the works. Punish them the sensationalist media cries. However over the recent decades we've seen some very legitimate criticism of the criminal justice system here in the west. One of the biggest points of discussion (particularly among leftists) is prison. Prison as a concept has come under attack a lot over the past few years. And quite frankly a lot of good arguments are made against prison as a form of punishment. The problem is that leftists desire a complete abolition of all forms of punishment in favour of therapy and other activities. There are reasons both philosophic and economic for this (the latter being the biggest driver). Whilst rehabilitation cannot be forgotten there must be some kind of punishment for certain crimes like theft or arson. And the more I got to thinking about this I realised there may be a solution staring us right in the face. That is the good old fashioned beating. Be it by whipping, caning, or lashing, these may actually provide a more humane and effective alternative.

First we have to examine why prison exists to begin with. Well first of all prison is actually a relatively new thing stemming back only a few centuries. Throughout most of western history prison was used as a temporary holding for people due in court. The current concept of prison was invented during the Victorian era (a period of history I much loathe) as a means of "reforming" the offenders. Of course much like many social changes over the past 2-300 years it wasn't based on any real evidence but was just asserted as a good. In the real world however recidivism rates do not go down no matter how long we sentence inmates for. Of course putting criminals in close quarters with each other is bound to have negative results. Mainly that they will re-enforce the negative behaviours. From this point I will break it down into various points:

1. Cost
The modern prison system can cost upwards of tens of billions. All for a system that has persistently failed to produce any decent outcomes. The only real benefit from prison is employment for the providers but this comes at great cost to the public in terms of both money lost and crime that is not prevented. Corporal punishment on the other hand would cost very little by comparison. You wouldn't need to worry about maintaining the facilities which would already greatly reduce spending which could go to better things like transport and healthcare.

2. Compassion
If you were in court for say, grevious bodily harm and I was to give you one of two options, five years in prison or 50 lashes, which one would you take? I imagine the majority of you would take the lashes. I know I certainly would. And why would you? Simple. Because with the lashes you get to keep your time on this Earth and live your life how you would. Compare that to prison which takes away much of this time on Earth away from the inmate with no real means to make amends. There is labour, sure, but that mainly benefits corporations and not real people in the real world. It is in many ways kinder to the offender. Not only would it prevent them from intermingling too much with other criminals, it would also ensure they are not separated from their family and friends which can be crucial for the offender.

3. Rehabilitation
Now this one is tricky and I understand why. There is no obvious benefit outside of raw punishment. What I say here could be completely wrong. But I believe that this system combined with some Nordic style justice could work surprisingly well. Norway is often regarded as an example with regard to criminal justice. And it is true that it has a number of benefits. But that's an incomplete picture. Sweden has a very similar style of prison and yet has a 40% recidivism rate. By contrast, here in my native Britain 75% of offenders reoffended within a decade after release. The Nordic model does work better but there are some considerations to be made. Mainly that the Nordic countries are much higher trust societies than my own. But even then 40% is still pretty high. A justice system overly focused on punishment does not work, and one overly focused on rehabilitation also does not work. So how could corporal punishment be worked into it? I think coporal punishment combined with some form of counselling or therapy will work well. Prison does not create trauma (at least in of itself) as prisoners can adapt to it. In fact many of them do. But a lashing you cannot adapt to and is much more likely to cause trauma as it is quick and painful. That combined with a form of counselling that will internalise the guilt and/or shame could perhaps be very positive. By associating trauma with the act they have committed to recieve such a punishment to begin with, It could possibly work very well in so far as it would create people who not only regret their actions but will feel a deep sense of fear and/or anger when presented with them. Something I think should be considered healthy. Negative emotions are there for a reason.

I may be pushing things here and I wouldn't recommend this approach for all crimes but for a lot of them this could work very well. This is, of course, purely theoretical. It's possible this has been tried in the real world and I'm just not aware of it. But for the time being I think this could be a really good idea. Post whatever you may in response.
 
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Outer Heaven

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If you were in court for say, grevious bodily harm and I was to give you one of two options, five years in prison or 50 lashes, which one would you take? I imagine the majority of you would take the lashes. I know I certainly would. And why would you? Simple. Because with the lashes you get to keep your time on this Earth and live your life how you would. Compare that to prison which takes away much of this time on Earth away from the inmate with no real means to make amends. There is labour, sure, but that mainly benefits corporations and not real people in the real world. It is in many ways kinder to the offender. Not only would it prevent them from intermingling too much with other criminals, it would also ensure they are not separated from their family and friends which can be crucial for the offender.
This is exactly my response whenever anyone complains about old punishment being barbaric. People genuinely think putting people in a rape box for 50 years is more humane than putting a bullet in their brain. People are just emotional about any sort of violence because they live in societies that shield them from it. The state does everything for you out of sight and out of mind so nobody has to deal with the harsh realities of life.
 
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Linkat

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This is exactly my response whenever anyone complains about old punishment being barbaric. People genuinely think putting people in a rape box for 50 years is more humane than putting a bullet in their brain. People are just emotional about any sort of violence because they live in societies that shield them from it. The state does everything for you out of sight and out of mind so nobody has to deal with the harsh realities of life.
That's something I forgot to mention. Prison is in a way dishonest. Most people don't know what it's actually like until they get there. With corporal punishment you will have an idea. People in this society think physical pain is the worst possible thing when there are other types of pain which are just as bad if not worse.
 
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LostintheCycle

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People are just emotional about any sort of violence because they live in societies that shield them from it.
This is so weird because our media is so casual about violence. Look at kids cartoons where there is no fuss about people getting hit by cars or whatever. What about all the action packed superhero movies full of casual murder? 95% of major games are basically about killing things. Yeah this sort of violence is also incredibly sanitised even in the adult-targeted stuff, but it's also absolutely everywhere.
 
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