Libertarian meat eater, right wing in the sense of conservative with a small c.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Hang 'em 'n' flog 'em brigade vs. It ain't my fault guv

In the latest bit of joy to hit our justice system there are complaints that prisoners are being held in inappropriate cells at Magistrates Courts because not only are the prisons chock a block but so are the police cells.

You have the usual loonies from both ends of the spectrum with one lot demanding that they're all hanged and the other decrying the poor prisoners broken homes and saying that what they really need is counseling.

Personally I'm, more on the right than the left on this, (quelle suprise), but I don't think that petty criminals deserve hanging and I can't even support killing the very worst. I can't agree that killing someone as punishment is always morally wrong, (pick your own 'evil people who don't deserve to live'), but it is with the practicalities that things fall down. No justice system is perfect and we do mistakenly lock up people for years and later find that they are innocent. Start executing people and no matter how hard you try to ensure that 'only the very, very, very guilty' will die and sooner or later you will kill an innocent man.

However, this does leave non lethal physical punishment as an option. The question is why don't we do it anymore? It is not enough to decry it as barbaric, cruel or painful and humiliating. Corporal punishment is supposed to be painful and humiliating, that's why it's a deterrent. It could also be described as cruel but is it any more so than prison? Finally to describe something as barbaric is merely to say that you don't approve, not why.

So what the hell, lets bring back the stocks and flogging , see what happens to the crime rate and then reassess. We would need to keep some prison places for those who need to be locked away for the public's safety but this would deal with prison overcrowding 'at a stroke', (sorry couldn't help myself). As for value for money, deterrent effect /cost to administer, what would you bet on?

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