iCrnFloggingrnby Sherman McCallrnBoys had been beaten since historyrnbegan and it would be a bad dayrnfor the world if ever, ineonceivably, boysrnshould cease to be beaten.” So said C.S.rnForester in Lieutenant Hornhlower.rnClarence Davis, a black Democraticrnmember of the Maryland House of Delegates,rncourageously proposed restoringrnjudicial flogging in Maryland last year.rnCourts would give up to ten lashes with arnrattan cane for minors at least 14 yearsrnold who commit theft or vandalismrnworth more than $300. In the past, suchrna proposal would have met with derision.rnBut in the wake of the caning case in Singapore,rna conservative resurgence at thernpolls, and increasing frustration withrncrime at home, flogging’s time may haverncome again.rnExcept for keeping incorrigibles offrnthe street, ever longer prison sentencesrnare cosdy and unlikely to provide additionalrndeterrence. More important is thernprobability, immediacy, and type of punishment.rnCorporal punishment mightrnserve admirably. Citizens modify beha’-rnior in fear of crime. Why wouldn’t criminalsrnmodify theirs in fear of punishment?rnThis seems logical, but we mustrnbe cautious. A logical fallacy plagues socialrnscience; the fact that one event followsrnanother is no proof of causation.rnWhile favorable to countries practicingrncorporal punishment, simple crime raterncomparison doesn’t account for other socialrnfactors. Neither is the surge in crimernsince the abolition of flogging in thernUnited States conclusive.rnDavis proposed a four-year experimentrnwith corporal punishment. However,rnthe experiment has already beenrnmade. There were no judicial floggingsrnin the United States during Worid WarrnII, while we harnessed the violent impulsesrnof our young men overseas. Floggingrnresumed sporadically after 194.5.rnLet us compare the change in population-rnadjusted FBI crime rates for eachrnstate that imposed corporal punishmentrnto the simultaneous national trend.rnArkansas lashed three men in Junern1946 for burglary and grand larceny. Itrnwas a tonic. While the postwar crimernwave receded marginally in 1947,rnArkansas enjoyed precipitous declinesrncompared with the rest of the country:rnrobbery (AR, -45 percent; U.S., -5 percent),rnburglary (AR, -22; U.S., -2), larcenyrn(AR, -11; U.S., -1), aggravatedrnassaults fell six percent in Arkansas;rnthey rose seven percent nationally.rnLast employed in 1940, Delaware imposedrntwo flogging sentences in 1945rnand 1946. The following year saw arnmiraculous fall in violent crime comparedrnto 1945: robbery (DE -23; U.S.,rn-1-9) and aggravated assault (DE, -58;rnU.S., -1-19)—this despite the return ofrnthousands of battle-hardened soldiersrnthat drove up crime nationwide. Propert’rncrimes rose much less than the average,rnparticularly burglary (DE, +5; U.S.,rn-f20)andlareeny(DE,+I5;U.S.,+21).rnMaryland’s last flogging came in 1948rnfor wife-beating. An immediate improvementrnin crime rates occurred overrn1947, even while crime rose nationally:rnrobbery (MD, -11; U.S., -6), aggravatedrnassault (MD, -11; U.S., +5), burglaryrn(MD, -4; U.S., +1), and larcenv (MD,rn-3;U.S.,-H2).rnIn 1952, Delaware imposed the last judicialrnflogging in the United States.rnCrime in 1953 was down in Delawarernand up everywhere else: robbery (DE,rn-10; U.S., +1), aggravated assault (DE,rn-26; U.S., -h4), burglary (DE, -22; U.S.,rn-^5), larceny (DE, -1; U.S., -^3). Whenrnthe floggings ceased, crime rose again inrn1954. Governor McKeldin commutedrna flogging sentence for wife-beatingrnin Maryland in 1952, argumg that hernwouldn’t commit a “crime” againstrnthe criminal. His crime was againstrnMaryland citizens, who in 1953 enduredrnan increase in crimes to ten times the nationalrnaverage: robbery (MD, +24; U.S.,rn+7), aggravated assault (MD, +4; U.S.,rn+ 4), burglary (MD, +18; U.S., +5),rnlarceny (MD,+30; U.S.,+3).rnWhile flogging’s deterrence did notrnextend to rape and murder, floggingrnclearly “beat” the national average.rnFlogging adds efficienc}’ to the virtue ofrneffectiveness. Consider that correctionsrnspending has outstripped inflation byrntwo to one for 20 years. Incarcerationrnnow costs $59 per prisoner per day; newrnprison space costs $60,000 per bed. Inrnthe present circumstances, the cost ofrnpunishing the offender often exceeds therncost of the ‘andalized property.rnFlogging is also more egalitarian thanrnfines. Like a regressive tax, the limits onrnfines fall unevenly. The rich considerrnthem a nuisance; the criminal a businessrnexpense. Viewed objectively, flogging isrnalso more humane than incarceration. Inrnall four of the 1946 cases, the convictsrnchose flogging in lieu of jail termsrnranging from one to three vears. Whenrnthe accused is employed, fines and floggingrnmay allow him to keep his job, whilernhe is certain to lose it after imprisonment.rnThis may keep his family off thernwelfare rolls, and it preserves his self-respect.rnKeeping first offenders away fromrncareer criminals might even lower thernrate of recidivism. With the occurrencernof male rape in prisons and an HIV incidencernamong male prisoners as high asrneight percent, any time in jail can be a dernfacto death sentence. The AIDS epidemicrnand cramped conditions alsornmake prison ideal for the spread of antibiotic-rnresistant strains of tuberculosis.rnIn 1978, the European Court ofrnHuman Rights overturned a floggingrnsentence in the Isle of Man, but not becausernit constituted “torture” or “inhumanrnpunishment.” The court merelyrnfound the punishment “degrading” becausernit was applied by strangers to thernbare buttocks. Our constitutional test isrn”cruel and unusual,” not “degrading,”rnand the state laws allowing flogging werernrepealed by legislatures, not overturnedrnin court.rnCiven the wide contemporaneous usernof corporal punishment, the intent of thernconstitutional convention was eleariy notrnto ban it. The Fifth Amendment impliesrnthe legalitv of corporal punishmentrnwhen it states, “nor shall any person bernsubject for the same offense to be twicernput in jeopardy of life or limb.” Publicrnflogging for 25 different offenses inrnDelaware was not abolished until 1972,rnand 16 countries still employ floggingrnworldwide. The pillory and the stocksrncould combine milder discomfort withrnsocial opprobrium. Corporal punishmentrnis not cruel; we should see to it thatrnit is not unusual. We bomb Serbs, Iraqis,rnVietnamese, Koreans, Chinese, Italians,rnGermans, and Japanese to defend otlierrnpeople’s cities; why do we recoil fromrncorporal punishment to defend our own?rnThe only problem with the legislationrnthat was proposed in Mar)’land is that itrndoes not apply to violent or adult crime.rnIt should be the criminal, not the citizen,rnwho turns the other cheek.rnSherman McCall is a physician inrnWashington, D.C.rn48/CHRONiCLESrnrnrn