Prison and jail overcrowding causes numerous problems. Overcrowding is emblematic of an extremely expensive network of prisons and jails operated by our city, county, state and federal governments. Overcrowding caused us to build ever more prisons and jails… and then an abundance of prisoners were found to occupy the new facilities, which ultimately became overcrowded, too. As a percent of our population, the U.S. incarcerates more prisoners by far than any other nation in the world. One inner problem is that jail and prison do not rehabilitate, but instead are simply an expensive way to make bad people worse. As a society, we have long accepted the finding that “nothing works” to rehabilitate criminals once they are packed off to the cesspools of prison or jail. As hidden punishment, prison doesn’t seem to deter enough crime, either. Law-abiding folks are afraid of jail and prison, but criminals don’t seem to think they will be caught, focus on immediate passions and desires, enjoy the excitement of crime and don’t fear prison as much.
When the U.S. Constitution was written, very few people were sent to prison. In prior centuries, there was more corporal and capital punishment and more transporting of offenders to the Thirteen Colonies, penal colonies, Siberia, Devil’s Island, Australia and the like. Less developed nations do not like to receive criminals from other parts of the world anymore. Capital punishment in the twenty-first century costs a few million dollars per execution, so if we want to save money, that’s not likely the way to do it. That leaves the old-fashioned and inexpensive method of judicial corporal punishment. The good thing about judicial corporal punishment is that it’s been effective everywhere they’ve ever tried it. For example, corporal punishment was used in every single slave society in history – which proves it effectively keeps folks in line. In fact, slaves were considered safe in antebellum times, the opposite of the way African-Americans are perceived today. Slavery is not legal now, but many refer to prison as “New Age slavery,” and the similarities are numerous.
Those who were placed under corporal punishment in the past vouched for its effectiveness when justly administered. The Slave Narratives gathered by the Federal Writer’s Project from 1936 to 1938 prove this. While parental corporal punishment is more likely to be abusive than judicial corporal punishment, many successful people say it played an important role in their upbringing. The beauty of corporal punishment is that it does not have to be used very often or at all if it is administered in public.
One or two public floggings are usually enough. General George Washington used the whip to keep his mainly white troops in line from 1776 until victory at Yorktown. He’s the man who presided over the Constitutional Convention, so it’s not likely justices focused on the original intent of the Founders would find it “cruel and uncommon.” Thomas Jefferson wrote judicial corporal punishment into legislation. What’s cruel are lone confinement, prison rapes and violence, shattering marriages, families and communities, prison gangs and the other social and psychological costs of incarceration. What’s stupid and backward is the amount of money law-abiding people have to pay every year to keep inmates on what amounts to complete-time welfare: About $25,000 per prisoner times 2,300,000 prisoners. When the number of workers is shrinking relative to the number of retires, it’s crazy to imprison a associate of million able-bodied people and keep them idle most of the time.
Most of those who consider judicial corporal punishment “backwards” have not spent much time pondering the horrors of prison, the crisis of mass incarceration in America, the weakness of the U.S. economy or the enormous public debt we accumulated over the prior decades. In truth, judicial corporal punishment rehabilitates more offenders than prison ever did.
In the HOLY BIBLE, it says: If the guilty man deserves to be beaten, the estimate shall make him lie down and have him flogged in his presence with the number of lashes his crime deserves, but he must not give him more than forty lashes. If he is flogged more than that, your brother will be degraded in your eyes. DEUTERONOMY 25:2-3. The Bible requires corporal punishment be administered in front of the estimate, which is a wise requirement to discourage abusive use outside judicial scrutiny. Jesus made a whip and used it to excursion people and cattle: So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he distributed the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. JOHN 2:15. Jesus said he came to proclaim freedom for prisoners.
Human societies sometimes deludes themselves. One of those delusions held that criminals would enhance as people if we stuck them in cages.