Is Flogging Better Than Prison?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gavel (Flickr: walknboston)

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that California's overcrowded prison system violates the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The Court ordered California to transfer or release thirty thousand inmates over the next two years. But California isn’t the only state with a high rate of incarceration. The U.S. has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. Peter Moskos thinks that Americans are in denial about the brutality of our prison system. And he has a provocative idea about how to change it. He's the author of the new book "In Defense of Flogging" and an assistant professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.


Peter Moskos

Produced by:

Mary Harris and Jillian Weinberger

Comments [2]

Margaret from Manhattan

I take it this author has not heard of successful programs of training inmates to train service dogs, or be barbers, dog groomers, or gardeners. Not claiming ex-inmates become professionals; but visiting choreographers, poetry workshops, and meditation programs have also mattered. Maybe he has, and says, 'so what; it doesn't change the majority'. When talking diplomatically at a table, instead of reaching out and hitting, was new, it wasn't the majority/norm either - how did it become so, where it is? By giving up on it, and not bothering? He should listen to the 5/29/11 "This American Life". A man changed and grew, while in jail for accessory to murder, just from developing a relationship with his father, who he had not been close with - imagine there being such a thing...

May. 31 2011 04:03 PM
homebuilding from Oklahoma City

Moskos' contention that prison is not about punishment, it's about rehabilitation was left unchallenged. A very strong argument could be made that prison is about denial of a normal life and the denial of the opportunity to learn about the needed skills for a normative life. The longer they are in prison, the more denial, and the more deviancy. I'm from Oklahoma, and we are way high on the US rate of incarceration-- #1 in locking up women, actually

May. 31 2011 01:03 PM

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