Posted: January 26th, 2017
Michael Fay, the American that was caned in Singapore for acts of vandalism, brought new attention to the revival of corporal punishment in the United States. Corporal punishment is nothing new, although it has fallen out of favor as a disciplinary alternative in the last hundred years or so. However, it was only in the late 1960s that the last state to allow flogging or whipping, Delaware, took its law off of the books. The publicity of the incident in Singapore, and the comparison of Singapore s relatively crime free environment with that of the United States, led to a number of politicians proposing the administration of public paddling for vandals and other crimes popular among youth. The sentiment seems to be that corporal punishment would actually be feared, and that this would be an effective deterrent to crime. Is this a proposal worthy of consideration? Would you be more likely to obey a law if you stood to be physically punished if caught breaking it? Would such punishments be as effective in deterring adults as with juveniles? Are the Singapore type canings, which often break the skin and cause lasting scars, too harsh, or are there crimes that merit such treatment? Would these punishments, condemned as being too violent by some detractors, simply promote greater violence?
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