Justice Through Alternative Methods Of Punishment- Essay, Research Paper
Throughout the years and around the globe there have been several types of punishment enforced upon criminals. Punishments ranging from crucification, flogging, whipping, caning, and of course imprisonment have been used. Imprisonment, the punishment of choice in the United States, does not serve the purpose Americans expect it to. Punishment should invoke remorse on the part of the criminal. Americans expect criminals to be punished in such a manner that it would present a criminal from committing the crime again. If these two things do not occur, what good comes from the punishment of these criminals through the American justice system? If imprisonment is not serving its purpose, an alternative form of punishment should be adopted.
Criminals who are placed in cages do not feel remorse for the crimes they have committed. Sadly, most criminals leave prison more dangerous to society than when they entered. Many criminals even leave prison earlier than they are supposed to because of “good behavior”. When they leave that prison cell, they become an even greater threat to society. Jeff Jacoby writes in his essay, “Bring Back Flogging”:
For tens of thousands of convicts, prison is a graduate school of criminal studies: They emerge more ruthless and savvy than when they entered. And for many offenders, there is even a certain cachet to doing time – a stint in prison becomes a sign of manhood, a status symbol (120)
An alternative method of punishment such as public canings would eliminate this cachet. This indeed would bring remorse upon criminals. If young juvenile criminals were publicly caned for committing theft, many of them would actually learn their lesson and steer away from a life of crime. Imprisonment, as I stated before, is not serving its expected purpose. There is no remorse on the part of an imprisoned criminal who considers it a sign of manhood to be in his position and anticipates the day he can get out and get back at the world. The remorse simply does not exist.
Despite what we hear from politicians about how “safe” our cities have become, crime is increasing rapidly. Criminals are not afraid of going to prison. Jeff Jacoby, in his essay, “Bring Back Flogging,” states that “For most wrongdoers, the odds of being arrested, prosecuted, convicted and incarcerated are reassuringly long.” He continues to mention that “Fifty-eight percent of all murders do not result in a prison term. Likewise 98 percent of all burglaries” (120). Criminals do not fear the justice system. Those criminals who are imprisoned are only a larger threat when they re-enter the streets, committing more and more crimes. The lesson is not learned.
Public caning is the answer to this major flaw in the American justice system. Singapore, for example, has used public caning as a form of punishment for years now. The results in this beautiful country are obvious. Singapore boasts the lowest crime rate in the world. People feel safe in this country. Allowing small children to go into public restrooms unaccompanied is an everyday occurrence. Such a thing is almost unheard of in many U.S. cities. If public caning were adopted in the United States, there would be certain positive changes. The nation would save millions of dollars by adopting this system. The cost of caning an individual is minute in comparison to the cost of keeping an individual behind bars. Jacoby states that “The price of keeping criminals in cages is appalling – a common estimate is $30,000 per inmate per year” (120) Apart from the financial benefits, criminals would finally learn their lesson for the crimes they commit. A painful and humiliating public caning proves to be much more educational than being put behind bars in a prison where one receives free meals everyday and a place to sleep, something that many criminals did not have before being imprisoned.
Crime is a problem faced not only by government officials but also by all Americans. Effectively keeping criminals off the streets is what Americans dream of. An alternative method of punishment, such as caning, must be adopted in order to make this dream a reality.