On FloggingrnDr. Sherman McCall believes (“Flogging,”rnFebruary 1996) that floggingrncriminals could be less costly and morerneffective than imprisonment, and presentsrndata showing that flogging reducedrnthe crime rate significantly in states thatrnused it (albeit exceptionally) comparedrnto states that did not. Thus “Arkansasrnlashed three men in June 1946 for burglar}’rnand grand larceny. It was a tonic.”rnDr. McCall presents similar data forrnother states that sporadically used thernlash. But it is preposterous to believernthat one flogging administered to two orrnthree criminals reduced the crime rate inrnthe following (let alone the preceding)rnyear. Were it so, flogging could solve ourrncrime problem, and I would be for it.rnUnfortunately, it is not so.rnFlogging and mutilation were widelyrnused in the past in Europe. By all indications,rncrime rates were higher than theyrnare today. Corporal punishment (exceptrnfor the death penalty) is no longer usedrnin the Western world. Rationalistsrnthought it better to appeal to the criminals’rnreason by imprisoning them, tornreflect on their sins. As currently practiced,rnthis is not very effective eitherrn(though it prevents most people fromrncommitting crimes). It is cosfly, too, becausernwe find it necessary to equip prisonsrnwith televisions, gyms and exercisernmachines, and many other amenities.rnAbove all, in most state prisons, prisonersrnare prevented from working.rn1 would advocate stricter and cheaperrnprisons, and 48 hours of work for inmatesrnper week. I would also abolish the exclusionaryrnrules that prevent the admissionrnof evidence if police officers have not followedrnthe book in inaking an arrest or arnsearch. (If his violation was intended,rnthe of fleer should be punished.) Manyrnother reforms are needed, but flogging isrnnot among them.rn—Ernest van den HaagrnNew York, NYrnSherman McCall’s eloquent argumentrnin support of flogging as a criminal punishmentrnis of particular interest becausernhe signs himself as a physician. The HippocraticrnOath requires that physiciansrnuse their art to cure, treat, etc., and “neverrn[to] use it to injure or wrong.” That arnphysician can openly advocate suchrn”treatment” is certainly welcome. Inrn1983, when I published just and Painful:rnA Case for the Corporal Punishment ofrnCriminals, I was portrayed by the nationalrnmedia as a weird throwback to thern17th century, a fool who was out of steprnwith the times, adxocatingbarbaric practices.rnTo see a physician refer to floggingrnas “humane” is most heartening, becausernthat is the point I have tried to getrnacross over the years.rnHowever, the bulk of McCall’s articlerndeals with the hope and prediction thatrncorporal punishment will reduce crimernrates and deter crime. I would be preparedrnto wager that scientific studies willrnbe unable to demonstrate its effectivenessrnas a deterrent. Social science hasrnbeen unable to demonstrate that prisonrndeters or reduces crime. Nor has it beenrnable to show that rehabilitation or treatmentrnwork cither. One can plav with thernstatistics to produce just about anyrn”proof” one wants. I can understand therntemptation to “sell” corporal punishmentrnas a deterrent, since that is thernmost popular reason given by legislatorsrnfor introducing or changing criminalrnsentences. It docs, perhaps, speak morerndirectly to the widespread public fear ofrncrime, although in the latter case, gettingrncriminals off the streets and to hell withrnanything else is probably the best politicalrnposition for any legislator. As I notedrnin my book, deterrence philosophy, arnbranch of utilitarian ethics, has a numberrnof moral shortcomings, so it is preferablernto argue for the introduction of corporalrnpunishment on other, morernmorally defensible grounds.rnIn my view, corporal punishment isrnbest justified according to two basic arguments.rnFirst, it is a thoroughly humanernpunishment when compared to allrnthe other punishments tried so far onrncriminals. Liberals have ridiculed thernsuggestion tliat corporal punishment isrnhumane. Their outcry against corporalrnpunishment is based essentially on therndistorted use of the term “violence,” andrnmore recently “child abuse.” The carefullyrnmeasured administration of corporalrnpunishment to a child or criminal isrnnot cruel simply because it intentionallyrninflicts pain. If this were so, we shouldrnrefuse to allow children to visit the dentist,rnor to have shots. It is pain inflictedrnon offenders according to a well-developedrnjustiflcation; that is, it is punishmentrnadministered with good reason, tornteach a moral lesson. It is not pain wantonlyrninflicted on another, because onern”feels like it” or “doesn’t like” the individual.rnIn the latter cases, the intentionalrninfliction of pain would be violencernor abuse. Furthermore, corporal punishmentrnis a punishment clear and simple,rnemphasis on the simple. It conveys arnclear message that this individual isrnreally being punished (i.e., he is notrnreceiving something called probation orrnone of the other “punishments” that defiesrnclear definition as either punishmentrnor treatment). The clarity of the punitivernenterprise thus avoids the inhumanernconditions that are inflicted on offendersrnunder the guise of “rehabilitation”rn(which usually means “incarceration”).rnIs there any state that has a “Departmentrnof Punishment”?rnSecond, the clarity and simplicitv ofrncorporal punishment affirm the moralrnwrongdoing of the criminal. There is norn”apology” to him for his being punished.rnThere is no suggestion that it may havernbeen society’s fault, or that his unhappyrnchildhood or any one of the many socialrnscience excuses for criminal behaviorrnmay have caused his crime. The clearrnand simple moral message of the punishmentrnIS crucial not only for the offenderrnwho is being punished, but for the societyrnthat observes or “administers” it. It isrncommon to hear lamentations todayrnthat the moral fiber of our society hasrnbeen eroded. Moral behavior has beenrninculcated into children for as long as werncan remember in Western civilizationrnthrough the use of punishment whenrnrules have been broken. Liberals mayrncomplain that such a culture is “cruel,”rnbut the fact is, suffering lies at the heartrnof most moral teaching m the West.rnLike it or not. Get rid of or tamper withrnpunishment, and you undermine a pillarrnof Western culture.rnCorporal punishment is a sensible,rnhumane response to the call in our societyrnfor a return to simple moral values,rnsimple affirmations of right and wrong.rnThis does not mean that offenders havernto be beaten senseless when they breakrnthe rules. But it does mean that swiftrnand certain punishment—the hallmarkrnof corporal punishment—is the most effectiverncommunicator of the essentialrnconnection between the infraction andrnthe punishment. The drawn-out punishmentsrnof prison, probation, etc., failrnto make this clear and precise connection.rn—Graeme NewmanrnSchool of Criminal justicernState Unirersitv of New Yorkrn’ Albany, NYrnAUGUST 1996/5rnrnrn