Research Paper

Submitted By Kampanartmaket
Words: 609
Pages: 3

Kampanart Maket
ENG 112, Professor, Gordon

July 21 Journal #3 Bringing Back Flogging

In his article, "Bring Back Flogging," Jeff Jacoby suggests that reintroducing public flogging in some criminal cases may be an alternative penalty to incarceration. Jacoby asserts that, because imprisonment has become the punishment of choice in the United States, the U.S. prison system is in crisis resulting from overcrowding and spiraling costs, prisoners are subjected to violence and sexual abuse and they are often released early without effective supervision, leading to a high rate of recidivism. Finally, Jacoby questions whether public flogging is more cruel and degrading than locking human beings up in “cages.” I disagree with Jacoby’s thesis that the reintroduction of public flogging is an appropriate alternative to incarceration, and here is why. First, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled judicial corporal punishment unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution and it is currently unlawful in all 50 States (, April 2014). The last State to prohibit flogging as a criminal penalty was Delaware in 1972, as Jacoby points out. While it is possible that Jacoby intended his piece simply as satire on the U.S. prison crisis he describes, it lacks credibility as a serious and practical proposal to correct or ameliorate the conditions he bemoans. Supreme Court decisions continue to evolve over time as popular attitudes change. Thus, while public floggings may have been acceptable 150 years ago, that is no longer the case today, and a reversal of what is now settled constitutional law is therefore highly unlikely. Even if it did occur, its implementation would probably be spotty across the 50 States. Second, Jacoby does make valid points regarding incarceration and its effects on the prison population and Federal and State budgets. However, he fails to mention potential remedies (other than public flogging) that are appropriate to relieve the conditions he cites. Foremost among those would be sentencing guidelines reform that would focus on efforts to limit imprisonment whenever possible to those serious violent crimes where the principal objective must be the isolation of the criminal from the general population and there is thus no feasible alternative penalty (other than execution). Third, penalties other than imprisonment, such as stiff fines, house arrest in conjunction with electronic monitoring, travel restrictions, community service, and similar measures should always be considered for so-called “white-collar” crimes and imposed for all “victimless” crimes which, according to one statistic, constitute an almost incredible 86% of all U.S. Federal incarcerations