Bring Back Flogging Essay

1077 words - 4 pages

In “Bring Back Flogging” Jeff Jacoby, a columnist for the Boston Globe, presents the use of corporal punishment as an alternative to the current system of imprisonment. Published in February of 1997, the article states that flogging would be a more effective means of punishment than jail. He insists it would be less expensive and serve as a deterrent to first time offenders. Jacoby’s thoughts on prison reform are legitimate, but his reasoning behind the use of corporal punishment is flawed. He fails to provide reasonable support for his argument which leaves the reader guessing as to the seriousness of his claim.
Jacoby starts his essay by providing a background history on flogging by relating the punishment to crimes that would be insignificant in today’s society. He claims that imprisonment has become an “all purpose punishment” used for violent and nonviolent crimes alike (193). Citing a plethora of facts and research, Jacoby argues that the prison system is ineffective and too costly. To support his claim he advocates for a system of public humiliation and degradation to deter lower class criminals from becoming repeat offenders. Jacoby realizes that flogging’s “crimes of the day” are not our crimes, but maintains that flogging would be effective in current society and not any more brutal than being caged (194).
Jacoby is arguing for reintroducing a system of flogging. The main support of his argument stems from the ineffectiveness of the prison system. A statement by John DiIulio shows that, “about three of every four convicted criminals are on the streets without meaningful probation” (Jacoby 193). Jacoby uses this statement to show that most low level offenders do not receive adequate consequence to divert them from future crime. For the incarcerated, the prison system is not only a “sign of manhood” but a “graduate school for criminals” and they come out more ruthless than before (Jacoby 193). This statement could be begging the question whether or not criminals really become more violent after prison, but more often than not the statement is true. Addressing the cost, he states that a common estimate is $30,000 per inmate per year (Jacoby 193). This is an implied generalization that the prison system is a waste of money. The Globe reported in 1994 that more than two hundred thousand prison inmates are raped each year, usually to the indifference of the guards (Jacoby 194). Jacoby uses this statement to show that prison life has unimaginable horrors. His logos is strong using statistics to address the deficiencies of the system and deductive reasoning throughout the essay to persuade the reader to his hypothesis. He also appeals to his credibility as a writer by showing his own argument would not be effective in every situation, stating “there would be no cachet in chaining a criminal to a whipping post” (Jacoby 194). He shows that he has logically thought about his position and weighed the pros and cons associated with it....

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