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Do Not Bring Back Flogging Essay

1044 words - 4 pages

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as this, the author illustrates how imprisonment has become society’s general form of punishment and has now become outdated.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 illogical. For example, the author wrongly assumes that being whipped in public is more humiliating than being “caged” (Jacoby 1). Going to jail, i.e. being “caged,” is viewed as one of the most horrible events of a person’s life. Further, only the scum of the Earth go to jail and no person in their right mind would be happy to be labeled as a former inmate. Furthermore, Jacoby presumes that “for many offenders, there is even a certain cachet to doing time -- a stint in prison becomes a sign of manhood, a status symbol” (Jacoby 2). Where is the writer getting this fact? One could argue that going to jail is viewed as degradation in a person’s manhood. As well as this, Jacoby assumes that flogging will “prove a lot more educational than 10 years' worth of prison meals and lockdowns” (Jacoby 2). Truth be told, a public whipping may trigger rage within the individual. Contrary to this, jail time may cause the person to settle down and realize what they have done wrong. In addition, the individual would recognize that “10 years worth of prison meals and lockdowns” is 10 years of their life wasted. Also, Jacoby presupposes that flogging can be utilized as the new general form of punishment for all crimes. For instance, when...

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