Essay on Do Not Bring Back Flogging

Essay on Do Not Bring Back Flogging

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Flogging…What is it? What purpose does it serve? For those of us who have never heard of flogging, flogging refers to “beating with a whip or strap or rope as a form of punishment” (“Flogging” 1). Throughout the 1600s, flogging was utilized by “Boston’s Puritan Forefathers” (Jacoby 1) as a method of corporal punishment for various crimes. Progressing forward, Jeff Jacoby, columnist for The Boston Globe, provides readers with his view of “Boston’s Forefathers’” system of punishment in his essay, “Bring Back Flogging.” Within the contents of his work, Jacoby describes how flogging was utilized as punishment in its day. One such example he utilizes involves a woman who pleaded guilty to committing adultery. He writes that her punishment was “fifteen stripes severally to be laid on upon her naked back at the Common Whipping post” (Jacoby 1). In his piece, Jacoby argues for the revival of flogging and Puritan style punishment in the United States. As well as this, the author illustrates how imprisonment has become society’s general form of punishment and has now become outdated. Jacoby proposes that in order to cut costs and prevent future crime within first time offenders the turn to flogging must be taken. Jacoby’s logic to his argument is that since crime rates are rising, keeping prisoners locked up is expensive, and “the penal system is choked to bursting” (Jacoby 1), prisons should be done away with and flogging should take the reins as the new form of corporal punishment. Bearing in mind the above, Jacoby’s argument on bringing back flogging is unconvincing for the reason that his assumptions are incoherent and flogging itself is inhumane and could prove to be ineffective.
To begin with, Jacoby’s assumptions can be seen as ill...


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...ffective at all. He does not take into account the fact that flogging could actually cause more crimes in present society. Crimes have evolved and punishment must evolve as well. Reverting back to flogging, a primitive form of punishment, would counterbalance the efficacy of crime prevention. Clearly, times are different. Both people and the crimes they commit have changed and flogging as the popular process of edification for convicted criminals is of the past and jail time is of the present. In actuality, people should be investigating ways to inhibit crimes from occurring rather than seeking out ways to punish people. All in all, criminals whether convicted for murder or tax evasion are still criminals and will serve imprisonment accordingly. To end with, as the 1970s TV series, Baretta, once stated, “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time” (“Baretta” 1).

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