Corporal Punishment
March 27, 2009 5:11 PM   Subscribe

Caning a convicted drug dealer. Lash after lash after lash follows until his flesh is reduced to a bloody mess. With each blow, the body flinches and there is a cry. [The video shows buttocks and bleeding; NSFW but IMO worth viewing to understand what caning is really like.]

The comments below the newspaper article (click "View More") appear to agree overwhelmingly that banning corporal punishment has caused British society to become significantly worse. Much to my surprise, one in five British teachers wants caning to be restored!

Most everyone seems to agree that the death penalty — the ultimate in corporal punishment —is very ineffective as a deterrent, and there seems to be some agreement that imprisonment does little to dissuade people from committing crimes; unfortunately, there does not appear to be much research regarding the effect caning has on recidivism rates.

Having watched the video, I'm fairly confident that were I to be caned, I'd be very much dissuaded from ever repeating the behaviour that led to the caning. The bruising, the flaying of skin, and the impact of cane against exposed nerve endings must be unimaginably painful. As a negative punishment, it is, IMO, bound to be very effective in preventing the repetition of some crimes.
posted by five fresh fish (103 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Man, I picked the wrong night to curl up on the couch. This seems a bit over the top, especially with the "this is what I think about this video & caning" framing. -- cortex



 
Are you suggesting torture as a means of punishment?
posted by P.o.B. at 5:14 PM on March 27, 2009


I wonder if you'd be less inclined to deal drugs after a good ol' fashioned caning, but more inclined towards violent behavior in general?
posted by mannequito at 5:15 PM on March 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


Are you suggesting torture as a means of punishment?

No, I believe he is editorializing in favor of torture as a means of punishment.
posted by dersins at 5:17 PM on March 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


Remember Michael P. Fay?
posted by boo_radley at 5:19 PM on March 27, 2009


Yeeeeah, I get the feeling you're not going to get a lot of support around these parts for violent punishment as a deterrent for crimes. Probably because it's a barbaric, hideous idea.
posted by arcanecrowbar at 5:19 PM on March 27, 2009 [15 favorites]


The bruising, the flaying of skin, and the impact of cane against exposed nerve endings must be unimaginably painful.

Oh, c'mon. give it a try. I'm sure your imagination can encompass it.
posted by Balisong at 5:20 PM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's plenty of evidence showing that even capital punishment has little deterrent effect. It is a simple-minded fantasy to think that people who commit crimes sit down beforehand and weigh the risks of capture, the weight of the punishment, the quantity of pleasure they'll receive from the crime and determine whether or not to act on that basis. It is certainly the case, though, that brutalized people tend to behave brutally.
posted by yoink at 5:23 PM on March 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


I'm caned right now.
posted by gman at 5:25 PM on March 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


The purpose of torture is torture, as someone said.

If it has a deterrent effect, that's so much gravy.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:26 PM on March 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah, but c'mon, yoink -- we get to HIT people! Ain't that what justice is all about!
posted by PlusDistance at 5:26 PM on March 27, 2009


Oh boy, let's also bring back the Middle Ages. I bet these same commenters think British society was so much better back then before all that vulgar nonsense about human dignity, the Enlightenment and the rights of man.
posted by Iosephus at 5:27 PM on March 27, 2009


very effective in preventing the repetition of some crimes

The death penalty, while not necessarily a deterent for new potential criminals, does have a 0% recidivism rate. So if lowering the potential of repeated criminal behavior is truly more important than maintaining a civilized veneer, then we should just kill everybody we can convict of anything. It's the only way to be sure.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:29 PM on March 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


Having watched the video, I'm fairly confident that were I to be caned, I'd be very much dissuaded from ever repeating the behaviour that led to the caning.

Yeah, don't get caught next time. And if you do get caught, come out with guns fuckin' blazing...
posted by mr_roboto at 5:31 PM on March 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's the Daily frickin' Mail -- of course the comments are all "bring back the cane, it never did me any harm".
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:32 PM on March 27, 2009


Just think of all those lives that have been ruined by this man's activities. Actually spend a few minutes thinking about what drugs do to people and communities. Yet his backside will recover in a couple of weeks. He got away lightly in my opinion.

LOLAUTHORITARIANS
posted by Kwantsar at 5:33 PM on March 27, 2009


Having watched the video, I'm fairly confident that were I to be caned, I'd be very much dissuaded from ever repeating the behaviour that led to the caning.

No offense, but I'm fairly confident that your confidence has little bearing on the ethics or efficacy of corporal punishment.
posted by Riki tiki at 5:34 PM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm caned right now.

If it was done by two people, then you're co-caned!! HAHAHA!

I'll see myself out
posted by jonmc at 5:35 PM on March 27, 2009 [8 favorites]


From the comments section of the page:

We all know that Britain lost its "Great" when we did away with these things, around about the time of the first Beatles record, I remember.

Yes, it was them damn long-haired Beatles and their "Love Me Do" nonsense on the first record. Fuck that shit, man.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:37 PM on March 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


"The rack - keeping us safe from evil since the middle ages."
Funny how it did not deter nor reduce the number of unbelievers in any given locality during the inquisition. But it sure brought a shitload of them out of the woodwork.

If you spank me hard enough I might even confess that Bush was right.
But it has little bearing on whether Bush was right or not.
posted by isopraxis at 5:38 PM on March 27, 2009


"It is a simple-minded fantasy to think that people who commit crimes sit down beforehand and weigh the risks of capture, the weight of the punishment, the quantity of pleasure they'll receive from the crime and determine whether or not to act on that basis."

So...in that case there is no reason for jail either. If the possibility or the anticipation of any sort of punishment is no deterrent to committing crimes, then why bother with any sort of repercussions?

I'm being somewhat facetious, but if what you say is wholly true, then we have two logical choices: 1) don't punish anyone for anything, or 2) find some method of perfect treatment for the mental illness of being a criminal. The former is completely unworkable since there are people who we want to keep out of society and away from harming others, and the latter is not currently possible (and if it was, it's rather Orwellian?).
posted by Kickstart70 at 5:42 PM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


If corporal punishment were a deterant, Catholic school kids would be well-behaved little angels who never, say, cheat on tests, chew gum in class, or smoke cigarettes under the bleachers after school when you're totally positive that no one is ever going to see you but then Sister Hannigan just happens to appear out of nowhere and busts you all. I mean seriously, what's up with that? The woman's a ghost or something.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:43 PM on March 27, 2009 [7 favorites]


Much to my surprise, one in five British teachers wants caning to be restored!

The relevant comparison here is to the old naval punishments of flogging, surely? I was never caned myself -- it had long since disappeared from comprehensives when I was a schoolboy -- but it seems to me there's a big gulf between "six of the best, Jennings" and the caning described in the article.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:44 PM on March 27, 2009


My father was unlucky enough to be swept up off the streets in Iran at random one time and forced to watch the punishment of a burglar. In those days in Iran burglary was punishable by having the soles of your feet flayed. The convict was strapped to a table face down and the beating began. Blood was drawn quickly and the man quickly passed out. In order to properly mete out the punishment he was revived again and again with cold water and smelling salts until his feet were rendered into pulp. Afterwards a proclamation was made that his sentence was completed and he was simply untied and left to his own devices, all rounded up to watch were free to go. Hopefully he had a family that could take him to the hospital otherwise he would simply bleed to death in his semi-concious state.

It took my father a long time before he could look at hamburger meat again after that.

Was it justice? In the enlightened West the same man might have rotted in prison, tortured by his fellow inmates for a few years and been out meaner, more desperate, and ready to commit even more crimes. In Iran, he would recover from his wounds (provided he had support) and would be reminded every time he took a painful step of his crime He certainly would never do it again besides the fact that his crippling injuries would keep him from ever being able to break into houses.

My father is quite liberal minded in almost everything he believes and teaches, but after years of doing prison ministry work in the US, he's not sure which form of punishment is more cruel and unusual. At least the Iranian's wounds were physical, years of torture in a cell cuts much deeper.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:49 PM on March 27, 2009 [17 favorites]


then Sister Hannigan

Nuns don't use their last names in their Names In Christ. Otherwise your point is taken.

/raised by two catholic schooled parents
//cringes, apologizes
posted by jonmc at 5:50 PM on March 27, 2009


Just to add, those that were forced to watch the punishment were certainly not soon to forget either. With prisons its out of sight out of mind at best and glorification of "thug life" at worst as far as deterrance goes.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:52 PM on March 27, 2009


Names changed to protect the invisible and stealthy. You think I want her to show up again, after all these years? Don't bank on it.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:52 PM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Jesus that was horrible.

Also, flagged for excessive editorializing
posted by rollbiz at 5:58 PM on March 27, 2009


Also, I think this sort of romanticism for the good old days is just another example of false attribution. The loss of caning doesn't cause society's decline, any more than caning's presence held it together. It never ceases to amaze me how people continue to reduce complex sociological problems to one single completely unrelated cause, e.g., video games, heavy metal, Dungeons & Dragons and so on.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:59 PM on March 27, 2009


So...in that case there is no reason for jail either.

If the sole purpose of jail is to act as a deterrent, then your inference would have some basis. Jail acts as a punishment and as a means of removing the offender from the opportunity of reoffending for a certain period of time. Torturing someone with a cane obviously acts as a punishment, too--I was merely addressing its efficacy as a deterrent.

In my ideal world, jail would also (and, indeed, primarily) serve as an institution of rehabilitation. I'm not sure why you think it would be "Orwellian" to treat the multitudes of mentally ill people who do, in fact, populate the world's prisons (particularly those of the United States). But this seems to be one of those issues that politicians have entirely abandoned to the mob's desire for vengeance. I would not be at all surprised to see public acts of physical torture and humiliation once again adopted as standard practice in the US and the UK. You can just imagine Nancy Grace hosting a special "Hour Of Retribution" weekly on CNN showing us slow-motion highlights of the cane cutting into someone's flesh as Nancy moans orgasmically in the background.
posted by yoink at 6:00 PM on March 27, 2009


My favorite comment from the Daily Mail article: "This one's tricky to judge."

Yes, hm, it's hard to say whether or not it's a good thing to strap a human being to a wooden frame and beat him with a stick until he's bleeding. On the one hand, it sure would hurt a lot. On the other hand, it's so unimaginative. Why not break him on the wheel?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:05 PM on March 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


My father is quite liberal minded in almost everything he believes and teaches, but after years of doing prison ministry work in the US, he's not sure which form of punishment is more cruel and unusual. At least the Iranian's wounds were physical, years of torture in a cell cuts much deeper.

The average sentence for burglary in US federal courts is 2.5 years. I think most people would unhesitatingly choose 2.5 years in federal prison over being crippled for life.
posted by yoink at 6:06 PM on March 27, 2009


Horrible, but I wonder what level of 'drug crime' he was guilty of; and if there were prior charges that factored into the caning. Not that it is right/correct; but I do have to suspect he wasn't just on a corner with a 40 and a marihuana cigarrette. Muslim countries are known for not fooling around when it comes to drug crimes.
posted by new and improved buzzman IV at 6:11 PM on March 27, 2009


Sure, two and a half years as a prison bitch is a breeze compared to a couple weeks in a hospital bed and a limp.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:14 PM on March 27, 2009


Also, flagged for excessive editorializing

I read that as flogged for excessive editorializing.

Not a bad idea, now I think about it.
posted by unSane at 6:14 PM on March 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


I haven't done an extensive study of it or anything of that sort but I the idea of caning as a sentence for some kinds of crime seems like it might be an improvement to the justice system for this reason: if I was falsely convicted of drug crimes or rape I think I would rather be caned like this than lose years of my life in prison (or extra years of my life in prison, however it would balance.) Conversely, if I had actually committed a crime like that I at least personally think I'd be deterred from doing it again knowing I'd be caned again if caught.

Since contact with more hard-core criminals in prison is a big factor in recidivism, it appears to me that an additional benefit, if some or all of the prison term portion of sentences for lesser crimes was replaced with caning, might be reduced recidivism. (Not referring to rape as a lesser crime, of course, I only mentioned that above because it was part of the article.) And reduced recidivism would be good both for society and the convict.

I'm skeptical about the claim it's ineffectual, if only for the case that Singapore canes people for committing vandalism and my understanding is that the incidence of vandalism is genuinely much lower in Singapore than it is in my own country (the U.S.) and Singapore isn't a dictatorship or anything of that sort, it's a prosperous country with a firmly-established rule of law and a British-modeled court system that's an international leader in a number of areas.

I am, however, totally against corporeal punishment of children or even teenaged minors: if it were used I think it only ought to be applied to adults.

(And yes, I did watch the video, the whole way through. But I think a video showing someone spending six years in jail, missing their kids growing up, losing a home due to incarceration, friends and relatives - maybe parents - passing on without a final chance to see them, plus all the things that happen in U.S. jails which aren't supposed to like getting raped or starting to use drugs, might look pretty "cruel and unusual" too.)
posted by XMLicious at 6:16 PM on March 27, 2009


Horrible, but I wonder what level of 'drug crime' he was guilty of; and if there were prior charges that factored into the caning. Not that it is right/correct; but I do have to suspect he wasn't just on a corner with a 40 and a marihuana cigarrette.

Singapore gives out beatings for "drug offenses". Drug trafficking will result in execution. So simple possession may be enough to warrant a beating in Malaysia.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:16 PM on March 27, 2009


This is horrible. Five Fresh Fish, I am shocked at your comments and you have fallen in my estimation.

The other thing that makes me feel sick is the whole rigid, military formality of the process, as if they are desperate to paint this scene with as much vested state authority as they can muster.

It fails, it just looks like a parody, a seedy underground video made by people with a uniform fetish.

Oh and do not take anything the Telegraph takes at face value. Saying that 20% of teachers think they should be beating children is a calumny. Why would you even believe that?
posted by fingerbang at 6:18 PM on March 27, 2009


"Are you suggesting torture as a means of punishment?"

No, he's suggesting torture, disfigurement, and permanent mental trauma.
posted by aapep at 6:19 PM on March 27, 2009


Reading Atul Gawande's article about solitary confinement in the New Yorker this week really made me think about prison in general. Why is pretty much any physical punishment deemed barbaric--when our society locks someone in jail (solitary or not) for years on end, where they will probably be subjected to far greater abuses by other inmates, then lets them out as a decidedly second-class citizen, ineligible for many jobs, who carries the record of their crime for the rest of their life?

There clearly have to be consequences for crimes. Those consequences have to be unpleasant. You can say, "crime is an illness, we should treat it", but I respectfully submit that that's often BS. You know as well as me that there are plenty of things that perfectly rational people would do if they knew they wouldn't get in trouble for it.

I'm not for torture. But torture comes in many forms, and so does corporal punishment; saying "corporal punishment = torture" seems to me overly simplistic. If we make knee-jerk reactions and ill-considered decisions, we risk dooming ourselves to a nonfunctional and inhumane justice system just because it makes us feel better about ourselves.
posted by goingonit at 6:21 PM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think five fresh fish really gets off on Kink.com.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:23 PM on March 27, 2009


"I am, however, totally against corporeal punishment of children or even teenaged minors:"
I doubt spiritual punishment would be as effective...
posted by pantsrobot at 6:24 PM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've got a question for you.
posted by nola at 6:24 PM on March 27, 2009


Elevators in the Singapore projects (housing) also have detectors on the floors so folks can't; ahhh, express their pleasure about their housing options.

The Malaysian criminal code includes a provision for a sentence of caning for certain white-collar crimes, including criminal misappropriation, criminal breach of trust and cheating. Well, see. There is and can be a good use for everything.
posted by new and improved buzzman IV at 6:28 PM on March 27, 2009


I'd rather have my ass beaten into hamburger than go to prison. No doubt about it. Prison is the real torture and we do it every day to millions.
posted by orme at 6:28 PM on March 27, 2009


There clearly have to be consequences for crimes.

Why? Frankly, the older I get the more I find the whole concept of "punishment" for "crime" to be barbaric. Prison for punishment or rehabilitation, caning, execution, the lot. Why when someone does something that goes against what we want as society do we punish the purpetrator, when clearly we've dropped the ball? When someone abuses or sells drugs or breaks into houses or shoots up a school, didn't we fuck up somewhere along the line of ensuring as a civil society that that person didn't turn out that way? Why is no one getting tough on crime by boosting education or employment projects that might actually lead to a reduction in crime?
posted by Pollomacho at 6:29 PM on March 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


Kickstart70 wrote So...in that case there is no reason for jail either. If the possibility or the anticipation of any sort of punishment is no deterrent to committing crimes, then why bother with any sort of repercussions?

I'm being somewhat facetious, but if what you say is wholly true, then we have two logical choices: 1) don't punish anyone for anything, or 2) find some method of perfect treatment for the mental illness of being a criminal. The former is completely unworkable since there are people who we want to keep out of society and away from harming others, and the latter is not currently possible


Actually I argue that we should do away with the idea of prison as either punishment or reformatory, and mostly stop using it, yes.

Prison is an excellent idea for removing truly dangerous people from society and thus preventing them from harming others, and I think if we reserved it exclusively for that purpose it'd be an excellent idea. Rape, murder, sufficient degree of assault, etc are crimes I can see imprisonment for, and mostly imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole.

For other crimes, no we can't (and a good argument can be made that we shouldn't even if it were possible) change the minds of the criminals to prevent them from being criminal. But there's other ways of dealing with criminals than torture, brainwashing, or prison.

The objective, I'd imagine, is mainly to prevent them from repeating their crimes, or (now that we've identified them as criminally minded) committing different crimes. I really don't care if Joe Burglar wants to continue being a burglar, as long as its sufficiently difficult that he can't really do it. Monitoring cuffs, and other similar means of tracking the location and activities of such people seem reasonable to me, much moreso than prison anyway.

Of course we, as a people claiming to be civilized, need to make proper treatment of prisoners a top priority. Prison rape, abuse by guards, etc is absolutely unacceptable if we're going to even think of calling ourselves civilized. Naturally, psychological abuse (solitary confinement as it currently exists, for example) falls into the unacceptable category as well.

Mind, I also think we'd be very well advised to stop treating many activities as criminal. Basically if it doesn't involve harm to non-consenting third parties you're going to have to present a *really* good case that it should be illegal before I'll agree.

Drugs? Legalize, tax, and regulate. Gambling? Legalize, tax, and regulate. Prostitution? Legalize, tax, and regulate. Etc.
posted by sotonohito at 6:30 PM on March 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hey, I've got a crazy idea - how about we do away with the "either caning or brutal prisons" binary? How about some other options, such as decriminalizing non-violent drug offenses, reversing the three-strikes policy, making prisons more about rehabilitation, and so forth? I think we're being given a false choice here.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:31 PM on March 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


I doubt spiritual punishment would be as effective...

Arrgh, I almost went and looked that up too - but of course the spell checker wasn't flagging it. Damn you, spell checker, and your sweet seduction.
posted by XMLicious at 6:32 PM on March 27, 2009


Nothing could make me watch that video. I can't even bear to watch torture in a movie, and this is real.
posted by orange swan at 6:32 PM on March 27, 2009


Isn't it funny how all the places that do this sort of thing are generally horrible places to live? Whether this sort of thing is effective or not, the attitudes that allow it to exist are completely at odds with civilized society.

From what I've seen, the countries that do this sort of thing have plenty of crime - it's just that instead of low-level drug dealers and burglars, you have business and political corruption that makes the US look like it was run by righteous idealists. Look at the middle east - even if it means no petty theft or meth abuse, do you really want to live like that? Even the oft-lauded Singapore is a haven of foreign-worker slavery and abuse that rivals Dubai.

Oh, and another thing that defines countries that do this sort of thing - justice systems that are corrupt and incompetent. When a sentence is so cheap and easy to execute and the idea is to scare the public, why put a lot of effort into getting things right?

You'll note that it is the countries that have the most 'liberal' justice systems, primarily in Europe, that have the lowest crime rates (particularly for the crimes that really matter, violent crime.) Perhaps you'd be better off emulating them if a system that actually works is your real objective, not oppression.
posted by Mitrovarr at 6:34 PM on March 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


Why? Frankly, the older I get the more I find the whole concept of "punishment" for "crime" to be barbaric. Prison for punishment or rehabilitation, caning, execution, the lot. Why when someone does something that goes against what we want as society do we punish the purpetrator, when clearly we've dropped the ball? When someone abuses or sells drugs or breaks into houses or shoots up a school, didn't we fuck up somewhere along the line of ensuring as a civil society that that person didn't turn out that way? Why is no one getting tough on crime by boosting education or employment projects that might actually lead to a reduction in crime?

So your plan to "boost education" is to not lock up someone who "shoots up a school" because "we've dropped the ball?"
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:37 PM on March 27, 2009


I think we're being given a false choice here.

LOL, was that a Freudian slip referring to your own comment? I don't think that anyone has said "we must not decriminalize drugs!" For my part I'd be just fine with that. But were I falsely convicted of a crime I would still prefer the caning to several years of my life lost to "rehabilitation" even if prison was a happy place full of rainbows and ponies.
posted by XMLicious at 6:38 PM on March 27, 2009


From what I've seen, the countries that do this sort of thing have plenty of crime

You're absolutely right. In the link I provided, it shows that Malaysia - which allows canings and executions for all manner of drug crimes - "has one of the world’s highest per capita populations of drug addicts and users".
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:39 PM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maybe I'm alone here, but I certainly didn't interpret this post to mean five fresh fish was advocating caning as a form of punishment.as
posted by teraflop at 6:41 PM on March 27, 2009


LOL, was that a Freudian slip referring to your own comment? I don't think that anyone has said "we must not decriminalize drugs!"

No, but I am seeing the repeated sentiment that they'd prefer caning to our current prison system. This, I think, is a false choice. We can also have neither. Your point about false imprisonment is fine.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:41 PM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why? Frankly, the older I get the more I find the whole concept of "punishment" for "crime" to be barbaric. Prison for punishment or rehabilitation, caning, execution, the lot. Why when someone does something that goes against what we want as society do we punish the purpetrator, when clearly we've dropped the ball? When someone abuses or sells drugs or breaks into houses or shoots up a school, didn't we fuck up somewhere along the line of ensuring as a civil society that that person didn't turn out that way? Why is no one getting tough on crime by boosting education or employment projects that might actually lead to a reduction in crime?

Because not all people work like that. Some kids do their homework and go to church, and some kids are little shits who hit you with a slingshot as soon as you turn your back. People are never going to be perfect, no matter how hard we try to make them that way.

Not every crime is committed for a lack of employment or education. Sometimes people just turn out badly. I've met my share of immoral human beings, I know people who I won't trust farther than I could throw them. I don't trust every single person I know in the world not to do anything wrong if they knew that absolutely nothing would happen to them if they tried.
posted by goingonit at 6:43 PM on March 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Perhaps a better "tax" on AIG bonuses?
posted by Rafaelloello at 6:46 PM on March 27, 2009


--Isn't it funny how all the places that do this sort of thing are generally horrible places to live?--

Yes, yes, wholesale slander will help you feel superior, that's it. No need to discuss the pros and cons of corporal punishment, best to just trot out failsafe prejudices.
posted by peacay at 7:00 PM on March 27, 2009


> I wonder if you'd be less inclined to deal drugs after a good ol' fashioned caning, but more inclined towards violent behavior in general?

Or at least towards an addiction to pain killing drugs.
posted by ardgedee at 7:02 PM on March 27, 2009


...I am seeing the repeated sentiment that they'd prefer caning to our current prison system. This, I think, is a false choice. We can also have neither.

I'll grant you that the incidence of rape could be reduced. But I did mention several things that will always be there - missing your kids grow up, losing your house and other consequences of losing income (like your spouse effectively becoming a single parent, for example, which can have a serious detrimental effect on the kids) and missing the deaths of loved ones. And a higher rate of drug use accompanying years of forced inactivity, or higher recidivism due to exposure to other criminals - I don't think penal reform is going to do much about that.

Of course, another thing is that if the sentences for many crimes were converted from a year or two in prison to a caning, there would be much less demand on the prison system and consequently quite a bit more resources available for the reform of the prisons as well as more money per capita for each person incarcerated. And I'll emphasize again - if it genuinely works as a deterrent, at least for minor crimes (which even some critical of corporal punishment above appear to accept) it would be a benefit to the convict in that way too.
posted by XMLicious at 7:02 PM on March 27, 2009


(Nothing against single parents, of course, but it is a risk factor for a number of childhood and juvenile problems.)
posted by XMLicious at 7:04 PM on March 27, 2009


The readers/commenters over at the Daily Mail are truely a c*ntish lot nowadays.

You'd think the British would actually learn from American mistakes... I mean, how many times does the U.S. need to set a bad example, before the British will learn not to follow it with wholehearted enthusiasm?!

I hope people here are at least modding the yobbish comments down, even though I doubt the Daily Mail will deign to share with its readers comments expressing foreign disgust with how and where their nation is going. Note that not a single one of the commenters even asked or questioned whether corporal punishment was effective in reducing crime, as compared to actual pro-active measures designed to reduce crime.

Something tells me that a Cameron government will be the friendly mask on the kind of sentiments that the Daily Mail's readers hold.

Is this the same Daily Mail that wrote an article denouncing similar behavior by the Iranian government for using a highly damaging drug --alcohol -- illegal in that nation? You bet it is! The difference being, the Iranians in question drew no blood and ripped no flesh off their unfortunate victim.
posted by markkraft at 7:09 PM on March 27, 2009


peacay: Yes, yes, wholesale slander will help you feel superior, that's it. No need to discuss the pros and cons of corporal punishment, best to just trot out failsafe prejudices.

I believe the general unpleasantness of the places that use it, which could presumably be measured on various quality-of-life indexes, is relevant to my argument: The attitudes which result in this sort of thing being used, and which come from a society that uses it, are detrimental enough that they completely overwhelm and outweigh the importance of reducing crime.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:10 PM on March 27, 2009


So your plan to "boost education" is to not lock up someone who "shoots up a school" because "we've dropped the ball?"

No, my plan to deter crime is to adress the root causes of crime long before the crime ever occurs. What makes people "little shits who hit you with a slingshot as soon as you turn your back?" What makes people shoot up a school or turn to drugs? I'm talking about actually answering those questions rather than taking the lazy way out and chocking it up to immorality or human nature.

Some people are just bad because they were never taught the right way or never given the opportunity to be good or they are mentally ill.

Is it ever going to be possible to reach 100%? Of course not, but that is no reason to simply give up and say "to hell with the lot, some people are just born bad, might as well just lock them up." I see time and again communities facing a crime surge by adding more cops or turning to more and more draconian methods and politicians swearing to get tough on crime, which generally equates to more brutal prison sentencing and questionable police tactics. What I don't see is people getting tough on crime by fixing up their community. But hey, that takes actual work, who want's to do that?
posted by Pollomacho at 7:12 PM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


The presentation of corporal punishment as inhumane pales in comparison to the American prison system. As stated before, prisons are not used as rehabilitation centers. They isolate people from society for a given period of time, then release them with no way to transition back into society. Often, they are educational centers on how to deal drugs, steal property, and commit violent acts. Beyond that, there are far too many violent beatings and sexual assaults which happen in prison.

The trouble is, nearly any reaction to a crime has its own set of problems. Corporal punishment is vicious and cruel, something we don't want to see sanctioned by an organization such as the government which has power over us. It also brings up gut reactions. We can see the punishment in action, we can see the scars, and we usually have had painful experiences which give us an idea of what the one being punished feels.

Rehabilitation brings up gut reactions in the other direction. If someone who committed a crime is being "helped" without a desire for revenge being fulfilled, it is easy to think that there is no deterrent. Even if they are imprisoned, the result is that prisoners may be coming out of the experience with a net positive. If that is the case, would that not encourage many people who are in difficult situations to commit a crime so that they could benefit from free housing, meals, and possibly be reintegrated into society with a helping hand that they could not find as a law abiding citizen? The argument is often hyperbolic or oversimplified, true. It is still important that regardless of the actual outcome, the public perception of justice is that the perpetrator is sufficiently punished. I don't mean to say that rehabilitation is pointless. I only mean to say that it is a fine balance between rehabilitation and ensuring that the consequences for crime remain highly undesirable by as many people as possible.

Crime needs some form of punishment. What that form is, I do not know. I don't like the idea of corporal punishment, I am vehemently anti-torture, and I find the use of executions in a highly developed country to be quite embarrassing. Yet at the same time, I can't help but think that our prison system is even more inhumane. It's just easier to look away. A limp is easy to see. Scars can be covered up, but they're just as easy to show. Losing years of your life with no education or job experience to help you get back on your feet, being exposed to years of violent racism which you may have had to join in on just to protect yourself, the mental trauma from knowing you are living with someone who abuses you on a daily basis and there is literally nothing you can do to get away from this situation? Not quite so visible, not quite as sympathized with.

Sorry if this has become too much of a rant. Corporal punishment is terrible. I just had to throw in my two cents on how we're already engaged in worse.
posted by Saydur at 7:13 PM on March 27, 2009


And I'll emphasize again - if it genuinely works as a deterrent, at least for minor crimes (which even some critical of corporal punishment above appear to accept) it would be a benefit to the convict in that way too.

If Malaysia is any indication, it's not a deterrent. If we were to decriminalize non-violent drug offenses (or for gambling and prostitution, as sotonhito points out), this would drastically reduce the prison population, freeing up space, money and resources for real reform, without having to cane anybody. Of course, I'm sort of on the far end of the scale here, as I don't think people should go to prison for most non-violent crimes. So I agree that prison is inordinately cruel in the case of many types of criminal activity.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:13 PM on March 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish comes to mind. The first chapter, a description of drawing and quartering, is impossible to forget. And the book itself should be required reading for anyone about to embark upon a career in law enforcement or "correctional institutions."
posted by emhutchinson at 7:18 PM on March 27, 2009


"Hey, I've got a crazy idea - how about we do away with the "either caning or brutal prisons" binary?"

Prevention? Decriminalization? Addressing social issues that cause people to feel hopeless, become criminals, and use drugs to escape being utterly disempowered when it comes to their lives?!

Communist!!
posted by markkraft at 7:23 PM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


The whole war on drugs is a terrible failure.

The Taliban in Afghanistan, the Burmese (sorry Myanmar) Junta, the Mexican Cartels, the sleazy dude at the end of the street are loving the war on drugs, and the harder it's fought, the greater the profits.

Drugs should be legal and readily available via a licensed distribution network.

And this post? Well it's pretty much shock value newsfilter. A good discussion here.
posted by mattoxic at 7:42 PM on March 27, 2009


I was never caned myself -- it had long since disappeared from comprehensives when I was a schoolboy -- but it seems to me there's a big gulf between "six of the best, Jennings" and the caning described in the article.

I'm old enough to have been caned at school and the differences weren't so big as you'd think.

We were allowed to keep our trousers and underwear on, but forced to bend over so that the flesh was stretched tight over the ass. If you refused to bend -- as I did once -- you were held down by the gym teacher or caretaker.

They used a rattan cane about as thick as your thumb, and the headmaster -- an ex-Cambridge rowing blue -- would take a run at it and put *all* his effort into it. He'd limit the strokes to six though.

When you took your pants off, your ass was seriously bruised and covered in raised weals. If you didn't have your pants on (along with as many pairs of gym shorts as you could borrow), I've no doubt that it would have broken the skin.

I'm in no doubt today that what was inflicted on us as children was child abuse. If you tried it today, you'd almost certainly be sent to prison for it, and rightly so.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:43 PM on March 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Flogging is widely used in Malaysia for various offences including drug crimes, rape and illegal entry into the country.

Two of these things are not like the other; two of these things do not belong.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 7:48 PM on March 27, 2009


The fuck, fff?! Are you drunk?
This thread should be deleted, stat.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 7:53 PM on March 27, 2009


Not exactly on topic, but I just had a trial this week. My client was charged with possessing 38.2 grams of an opiate or opiate derivative, hydrocodone. Under my state's law, the weight of any compound or mixture (in this case, pills) is measured and treated the same as the weight of the opiate itself. My 38.2 grams of pills actually contained .3 grams of actual hydrocodone (the pills weighed around a gram each and they were 7.5 milligram hydrocodone pills). He was charged with Level 3 Trafficking in Opiates or Opiate Derivatives. The sentences for Trafficking in my state carry with them mandatory sentences that are not related to a person's prior criminal history.

He had 40 7.5 milligram hydrocodone pills that were not prescribed to him in an unlabeled bottle. He was convicted of the Trafficking charge and sentenced to 225-279 months in prison. By law, he has to complete at least 85 percent of the maximum (in this case, 279 months) before he will be released.
posted by flarbuse at 7:55 PM on March 27, 2009 [12 favorites]


The fuck, fff?! Are you drunk?
This thread should be deleted, stat.


Quite. This seems out of character; it will not End Welt.
posted by fish tick at 7:58 PM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Perhaps I should not have used "Orwellian" in my earlier post.

Really, the idea of treatment for the mental illness of criminality is "Burgessian" (A Clockwork Orange).

Certainly there is room and reason for improved treatment of mentally ill people who commit crimes. But that does in no way mean that anyone who commits a crime is mentally ill. Sometimes they are just greedy or stupid or egotistical or intentionally careless or violent due to a lack of empathy. For those, there is no treatment that is likely to help curb their ways or protect other humans/animals/property. Best option for those criminals is a way to keep them away from the potential harm they can do.

Is prison the best way? Perhaps not. What are other options...induced coma?
posted by Kickstart70 at 8:00 PM on March 27, 2009


Every time we'd port in Penang, the port briefing would include an extremely graphic description of the caning process and crimes that you could expect caning for. It certainly worked as a tourism deterrent on me.
posted by Bernt Pancreas at 8:00 PM on March 27, 2009


flarbuse: Was he trafficking them?

I know you can't, with certainty, answer that perfectly.

In any case, what a truly ridiculous amount of time for that crime. Was it after a long string of other offenses?
posted by Kickstart70 at 8:03 PM on March 27, 2009


No, my plan to deter crime is to address the root causes of crime long before the crime ever occurs.

I understand your sentiment, but unless you have a time machine, your plan is not a plan at all.

What makes people "little shits who hit you with a slingshot as soon as you turn your back?"

Big shits who already exist, no matter how they were created, and who will happily go about creating the next generation of shits, given the chance. Also other little shits. And sometimes simple genetics.

Point is, you can't give future generations the opportunities you think will help them without also dealing with the current generations who would rob them of that future. Future violence is inextricably linked with current violence is inextricably linked with past violence. Sure we improve the odds by addressing underlying causes, but since the true underlying cause is thousands of years of treating each other like shit, I'd say you have your work cut out for you to convince 8 billion people to suddenly be decent to each other, don't take more than you need, and please don't raise your kids to be assholes.

I mean, yeah - we can always make things better. No argument, there. But there's still a world of assholes out there to deal with in the meantime, and dealing with them has to part of the solution. There's no reboot on history.

Also, apologies if I'm sounding cranky or not making sense. I've had a high fever for a couple of days, and I honestly can't judge myself very well right now, so please take my word for it that I'm not trying to call you out or be a prick about it. I do understand where you're coming from, it just strikes me as unrealistically optimistic in regards to human nature.

Now I'm going to go take some medication and go back to bed. I'll check in later in case I owe anybody an apology.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:10 PM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Under my state's law, the weight of any compound or mixture (in this case, pills) is measured and treated the same as the weight of the opiate itself.

A lot of jurisdictions do this, and I've always thought that it was telling. None of our drug laws make any sense for an open society in a modern liberal democracy, but this rule especially makes a mockery of common sense and rational scientific thinking. It's dark ages alchemy brought into service of the racist, repressive, arbitrary authoritarianism of America's drug policy.
posted by mr_roboto at 8:12 PM on March 27, 2009


flarbuse: Was he trafficking them?

By definition, possessing more than 28 grams makes one guilty of Level 3 Trafficking by Possession. Being caught in a car like my client ones also makes one guilty of Level 3 Trafficking by Transportation. He was found guilty of both, but the Judge consolidated the two under one sentence.

It was actually worse than it sounds. Here is my cross of the chemist for the State Bureau of Investigation:

Me: How did you test the pills?
SBI: They have an engraving on them that says M 360. I checked the chart, and the pills that contain that engraving are hydrocodone.
Me: Did you ever test the chemical make-up of any of the pills?
SBI: No.
Me: Don't people make counterfeit prescription drugs?
SBI: Yes, but I can tell the difference by looking at them.
Me: Don't people put the same engraving on some counterfeit pills?
SBI: Yes, but I can tell the difference by looking at them.
Me: There are some counterfeit pills out there that you have never seen, right?
SBI: Yes.
Me: So you don't know if you would be able to tell the difference if you saw them, do you?
SBI: I would be able to tell the difference.

So the pills were never actually tested. My closing can be summed up with the following sentence that I repeated in some variation throughout my closing: "Surely 225 months of a man's life are worth the time it would have taken to run that test."

The jury came back in twenty minutes with a guilty verdict. After sentencing, the judge asked the jurors if they had any questions of the lawyers or officer about the case. A juror's hand shot up. "Why didn't you test the pills?" she asked.

Right question, Juror Number 7. Wrong time.
posted by flarbuse at 8:14 PM on March 27, 2009 [27 favorites]


mr_roboto: That and the true insanity of being charged with drug trafficking to the full extent of the law if you are caught selling oregano instead of marijuana or icing sugar instead of cocaine.

I've always thought that was the most ridiculous concept...instead they should hail them as heroes of the drug war and hand out oregano and icing sugar to anyone who wants them, wrapped up in baggies or small plastic packets.
posted by Kickstart70 at 8:16 PM on March 27, 2009


flarbuse: Holy.

If this was in a movie, then at least the appeal process would free your client. I don't have any faith in reality.
posted by Kickstart70 at 8:19 PM on March 27, 2009


With prisons its out of sight out of mind at best

One reason I love Alcatraz -- a terrific symbol when it was a prison. On an island in the Bay, it can be seen daily by all the citizens as a reminder of what awaits if they're bad. Conversely, the prisoners can look over to SF and see what they are missing by being locked away. How many cities have downtown prisons? They were in Dicken's London and Paris of the Bastille time.
posted by binturong at 8:25 PM on March 27, 2009


Me: Don't people make counterfeit prescription drugs?

I hate to be pedantic, and understand if you can't comment. But what exactly was the defense here? That he had a bunch of pills in his car, but he claimed he knew they were counterfeit, and since you didn't test them, we'll never know?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:25 PM on March 27, 2009


Orson Welles presents:

Franz Kafka's
"IN THE PENAL COLONY"

Starring:
Orson Welles
Mickey Rooney
Edward G. Robinson
and Tom Neal as the inmate

posted by fuq at 8:30 PM on March 27, 2009


Frankly, the older I get the more I find the whole concept of "punishment" for "crime" to be barbaric. Prison for punishment or rehabilitation, caning, execution, the lot. Why when someone does something that goes against what we want as society do we punish the purpetrator, when clearly we've dropped the ball?

Punishment is certainly not the most effective means of shaping behavior. Animal trainers, following the lead of Skinner, get incredible results with positive reinforcement alone. But that doesn't mean there's no place for punishment at all. Here's two articles showing its effectiveness in enforcing the standards of the group.

There's also an argument from another angle. I'm not a fan of C.S. Lewis but I think he makes a good case in this essay. In more compressed form, Simone Weil makes a similar case, "Punishment is a vital need of the human soul. There are two kinds of punishment, disciplinary and penal. The former offers security against failings with which it would be too exhausting to struggle if there were no exterior support. Punishment must be an honour. It must not only wipe out the stigma of the crime, but must be regarded as a supplementary form of education, compelling a higher devotion to the public good. The severity of the punishment must also be in keeping with the kind of obligation which has been violated, and not with the interests of public security.". When deterrence is the only goal, the offender is not treated as an end in himself. He is simply a tool used by the social authorities to enforce compliance. As C.S. Lewis points out, when we're no longer interested in whether the punishment and offense are in balance, then the actual guilt or innocence is irrelevant. The only real question is whether it was effective at deterring potential future offenders. At least when the sentence is determined with punishment in mind the focus remains on the individual concerned and not his social utility.

As for the link, I thought the video was revolting and many of the commenters eager to indulge their desire for revenge. But over a period of several years I've read a number of articles and essays referencing a very rude and somewhat violent lower class culture that wasn't there or wasn't as prominent 30+ years ago. And in that context I can understand their desire for stiffer punishments. Still I don't see how physical punishments could be effective with adults or in any institution. If there isn't a larger, custodial, caring relationship in place, i.e. a family or small school, I can't see anything come out of it except hate and resentment. If we're going to bring back some old school punishments, and maybe we should, I vote for chain gangs. It's appropriate for a wide variety of lower level felonies, something constructive is done - good for both society and the convicted, fresh air and exercise for the prisoners at low cost, universally recognized as punishment, and (probably) better than prison. The deterrent value is pretty good as well - I think spending a couple of months weeding a big field that might be snakey would make a potential drunk driver or vandal think twice.
posted by BigSky at 8:35 PM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


> But what exactly was the defense here? That he had a bunch of pills in his car, but he claimed he knew they were counterfeit, and since you didn't test them, we'll never know?

I don't know about you, Cool Papa Bell, but any State that can send me to jail for 225 months for possessing fourty commemoratively wrapped sugar pills is a State that I have no desire to live in or around.
posted by simoncion at 8:45 PM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't think caning would have any deterrent effect whatsoever.

I am curious as to whether it has an effect on recidivism rates. I think it probably would. I can not find any studies that indicate the truth one way or the other.

I think the video shows a caning that is beyond the pale. Those look like wounds that are going to be permanent.

There are a great number of people in jail for very minor offenses. It would be interesting to have their opinion: would they choose caning as a punishment as an alternative to being losing years of their life in a jail cell?

And I wonder what causes the greater societal harm: mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines that put people who commit victimless crimes into jail for decades, or corporal punishment?

Our systems for dealing with criminal behaviour are woefully broken. We can not fix them until we understand what does and does not work.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:46 PM on March 27, 2009


Simone Weil makes a similar case, "Punishment is a vital need of the human soul. There are two kinds of punishment, disciplinary and penal...."

Do you have a link for this quote? I'm suddenly interested in the connections between what Weil wrote and Foucault's ideas about these issues.
posted by mr_roboto at 8:46 PM on March 27, 2009


I don't know about you, Cool Papa Bell, but any State that can send me to jail for 225 months...

Oh, it's a horseshit sentence, especially if there are no priors on his record. I just want to know the story behind the "counterfeit pills" claim. Apologies if it sounded snarky.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:52 PM on March 27, 2009


I don't know if this has anything to do with this thread. Lot's of people are saying what's wrong with the U.S. penal system. Yes, there is a lot wrong with it. Here's what I've been busy with tonight:

I volunteer at a local prison. A guy I've gotten to know over the last two years got out yesterday (8 year sentence, habitual felon). He's active in a 12 step program as am I. I've been doing this for awhile, and chances are much greater of them staying clean if they get to a meeting the first day they are out (if that's what they're into, not here to debate merits of 12 step programs).

Yesterday when he got out with $45 gate money (he's got $150 he earned on work release but won't get that from the corrections system for at least 30 days). His parole officer picked him up at 6 PM, 90+ minute drive home. He wasn't able to get to a meeting that night. Regardless, his PO told him not to leave the house that night.

Today he had a 3PM appt. with his PO and a 6:30 interview to get into a halfway house. PO told him to go straight home after the interview. Oops, no meeting tonight. Luckily his cousin was able to give him a ride 20 miles into town to meet his PO. No bus service where he lives. After that he meets me at work, one of my coworkers who knew nothing about him complimented him on his nice smile.

We get a bite to eat and I take him for his halfway house interview. Then I get to give him a ride back to his mom's house, he's gotta stay there tonight. Oh, and his mom lives in public housing so if they find out a felon is there she'll be in trouble. But that is where the PO had to take him because that was his home address in their file.

He'll be in the halfway house tomorrow. Rent is $300 a month payable up front. He got $150 from his family and they will let him pay the rest when he gets his work release money. He's gotta be in by 6 PM this weekend. We can hit a daytime meeting tomorrow. On Monday he has to give his PO a list of meetings he'll be going to every night then he can stay out after 6PM if that is what he is doing.

Of course he gets to look for a job now too.

What's the point? This guy has it much better than a lot of guys that get out. In fact, he had it great compared to most. At least his mom keeps a drug and booze free house. He's been trying to get into a halfway house for the last two months, it is really hard to conduct any type of business when you are an inmate via phone or mail. It is almost impossible for these guys to get placed before they get out. If you're a sex offender pretty much the only place you can go around here is the homeless shelter. So they go home, where the environment is often not conducive to staying out of prison behavior. I've tried to help several guys make this transition, and the most frustrating thing is them not being able to get into some kind of structured environment right away. Instead they're at loose ends for a couple days with nothing much too do.

But I know a guy that went straight to the homeless shelter and he's doing great. Other guys had it really good when they first got out, one of them is back in prison less than a year later.

I just wish the corrections system could do something to ease these guys first couple days out. Those first couple days are usually a pain in the ass for me trying to help, it's much worse for them. Everything they need to do can be really difficult those first couple days. I really think that the first 48 hours out is critical.

That's it. Not a very spectacular story but I hope it gives a small sense of what a pain in the ass it is to get out of prison. This guy did break the law, wasn't a violent crime though. I can think of about four places in the above story I could have inserted "He was lucky."

Oh, and these guys all say prison is "Like high school without the girls." I think the rape issue, while it is a problem, is actually exaggerated. There's often enough willing consensual partners around. Most of the problems (getting your ass kicked) seem to come from gambling debts or being an asshole.

It's been a tiring and frustrating day, but I can't think of anything else I'd rather have done tonight.
posted by marxchivist at 8:53 PM on March 27, 2009 [13 favorites]


>Also, flagged for excessive editorializing
Shouldn't that be-
I read that as flogged for excessive editorializing.
Dammit.

Still, weird editorializing. GYOF.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:01 PM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's plenty of evidence showing that even capital punishment has little deterrent effect. It is a simple-minded fantasy to think that people who commit crimes sit down beforehand and weigh the risks of capture, the weight of the punishment, the quantity of pleasure they'll receive from the crime and determine whether or not to act on that basis. It is certainly the case, though, that brutalized people tend to behave brutally.

There is plenty of evidence that the death penalty is a deterrent, even according to people like law professor Joanna Shepherd (link goes to PDF of academic paper), who's personally against the death penalty but has looked at the data. She's actually inclined to agree with you about brutalization. Clearly you have an aversion to the death penalty, which is a perfectly fine basis for being against it, but you're claiming that all the evidence supports you when really the picture is more complicated.

Also, it's absolutely plausible that people are dissuaded by the possibility of death even if they don't engage the cartoonish rational deliberation you conjure up. It's so clearly universal that people hate death and try to avoid it. The evolutionary basis for this is obvious. I don't know why so many people suddenly forget this when the topic is the death penalty.
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:04 PM on March 27, 2009


He would not reveal details of the prisoner involved. But the man was understood to be a drug dealer who received dozens of lashes, as well as a lengthy prison term.

So, even the country that's administering the torture doesn't think that torture alone is enough to deter criminality. This isn't a binary "which is better" question even for them.

If we give the government the power to torture us when we're convicted of crimes, do you really trust them to not put us in prison afterwards as well? Or do you think that, once they have the ability to torture criminals, they'll just heap it on top of the punishments already in existence in order to look tougher on crime?
posted by MrVisible at 9:05 PM on March 27, 2009


mr_roboto,

The quote is taken from her 'Draft for a Statement of Human Obligation".

Link.
posted by BigSky at 9:08 PM on March 27, 2009


Having watched the video, I'm fairly confident that were I to be caned, I'd be very much dissuaded from ever repeating the behaviour that led to the caning.

I'm fairly confident you're wrong. But you'd work a lot harder to avoid getting caught.
posted by delmoi at 9:23 PM on March 27, 2009


Right question, Juror Number 7. Wrong time.

God damn. Is it possible to appeal?

Our systems for dealing with criminal behaviour are woefully broken. We can not fix them until we understand what does and does not work.

240,000 to 500,000 heroin addicts in Malaysia, up to 600,000 in the US. And Malaysia is about a tenth the size of the US. That's not saying a lot for caning, but I don't think it speaks well of either penal system.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:23 PM on March 27, 2009


Threads like this remind me that I am ever surrounded by monsters wearing human faces.

May I never forget.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:39 PM on March 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


As a negative punishment, it is, IMO, bound to be very effective in preventing the repetition of some crimes.

Is this one of those "libertarian authoritarianisms" that are vomited on Metafilter every so often? Flagged.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:43 PM on March 27, 2009


Just don't be caught spitting in Dubai these days!
Not worth a spit? Dubai targets popular Asian chew.
posted by ericb at 9:48 PM on March 27, 2009


Why is no one getting tough on crime by boosting education or employment projects that might actually lead to a reduction in crime?

Because arrest rates peak at age 17 or 18, among perpetrators who are mostly already getting free education, room, and board? I agree that it would be nice if we could address the root causes of crime rather than punishing it after the fact, but I've noticed that one of those root problems seems to be "sociopathic behavior is reinforced when people notice that they can get away with bad things without being punished after the fact". If that's the problem, then offering more free stuff to sociopaths is only going to make the problem worse.

Of course, even if we agreed on punishment, agreeing on the details is another story. I suspect some people would be horrified that my mother stopped me from pulling the cat's tail by using corporal punishment on a toddler (pinching me) whenever it happened. Then on the other hand, you've got sadists who think that ripping someone's flesh open is a reasonable way to prevent consentual sales of the wrong intoxicants. There appears to be a wide range of opinion...
posted by roystgnr at 9:55 PM on March 27, 2009


Ob. Metatalk
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:57 PM on March 27, 2009


My dad inflicted similar damage to me, repeatedly, but I still shoplifted and lied to him.

It took real life to finally set me (relatively) straight some 20 years afterward.
posted by starscream at 10:04 PM on March 27, 2009


« Older Dynasty   |   U.S. Becoming a Banana Republic? Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments