“In Defense Of Flogging,”

Posted on June 28, 2011


New Book, “In Defense Of Flogging,” Advocates Beatings Instead Of Prison Sentences.

Flogging sounds like a cruel, harsh alternative to prison.

But In Defense Of Flogging, a new book written by academic Peter Moskos, actually advocates the method of punishment as an alternative to a traditional prison sentence, according to TIME. His argument, which may seem a bit barbaric to some, actually centers on the punishment as a softer, potentially more effective alternative to prison.

From TIME:

Flogging, Moskos argues, is an appealing alternative. Why not give convicts a choice, he says: let them substitute flogging for imprisonment under a formula of two lashes for every year of their sentence.

Moskos teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and according to the Washington Post’s review of the book, his background actually gives him the credentials to make a compelling argument.

It may seem like a satire, but apparently it’s not A Modest Proposal for the modern prison system.

In an interview with Salon, the author contended that while the book is completely serious, he is not “pro-flogging.” Instead, he insists he merely supports it as a choice, and a potential solution to many of the problems facing modern prisons.

In addition to cutting prison costs and reducing overcrowding, the book argues that flogging could actually be a more humane method of punishment, especially after some of the statistics are taken into account. For example, 1 in 20 inmates report having been sexually assaulted by other inmates or prison staff, according to Salon.

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From the interview:

Flogging should horrify people. But taking away a significant chunk of someone’s life is far worse than any punishment that is virtually instantaneous. We should be honest about prison and recognize that we’re sentencing people to years of confinement and torture. But we don’t do that. We still have this hogwash about prison being good for the soul. Deep down I think we all understand that no one leaves prison in a better position than they went in.

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