Corporal punishment is the execution of a judicially imposed sentence
that inflicts a manner of physical pain upon the offenders body without killing
him. In the past corporal punishment included flogging, whipping, branding and
facial or bodily mutilation of all types. Corporal punishment also refers to the
discipline of children at home and in schools but it was made illegal for
punishing schoolchildren in 1986.
Historically, corporal punishment was used in the ancient law codes of
Hammurabi and Moses, in laws of Sparta and other Greek city states, in early
Christian church teachings and in Anglo-Saxon common laws. It is still used in
many parts of the world and remains in the criminal codes of several European
In the twentieth century, corporal punishment has received severe
criticism. Many people believe it is a barbaric relic of a bygone age,
completely opposite with present day humanitarian ethics.
With a rising crime rate many are favouring the reinstitution of
physical punishment for very wicked crimes. It has been shown that many adults
in England want the restoration of corporal punishment for certain crimes,
hoping that it will effect the reaction against an ever increasing amount of
The use of corporal punishment on children has also dropped sharply. In
many school systems of the United States, for example, corporal punishment has
been outlawed, it is also illegal in countries such as Sweden, Finland, Denmark
Corporal punishment for certain offences is very effective, because it’s
done quickly and feared by all. Not only will it teach the offender not to
repeat his violent actions but it will also discourage him. It teaches the
school boy or convict that doing wrong will be followed by pain and suffering.
When used justly and without anger the giver is not brutalised. In many
independent schools where it still occurs it is thought of as a final punishment.
It accustoms the pupils to the hardships of real life and no bitterness is left
after it has been used for good reasons.
It is always impossible to make the
punishment fit the crime, with corporal punishment the amount can be adjusted to
suit the offender. It is much better than other punishments which are deadening
to the mind and the body. Schools which don’t find corporal punishment essential,
especially for young children, substitute it with other methods which are
equivalent to terrorising. Detentions are also harmful because they increase the
nu mber of hours a boy is forced to spend indoors in physical inactivity. His
restlessness is increased by the enforced restraint which leads to further
offences against discipline.
Corporal punishment is humiliating and harmful to the sensitive victim,
while it is no discouragement to the hardened culprit who often boasts about it
to his friends and girlfriends trying to impress them as though it were a battle
It appeals to the strain of cruelty that exists somewhere in everyone.
If it were true that corporal punishment accustoms children to life’s hardships
then every boy should receive it’s benefits daily. Corporal punishment is an
excuse for laziness in teachers. By using terror instead of discipline, a bad
teacher can continue his work when otherwise the impatience of the students
would force him to change his method. Detentions are more effective because they
interfere with the boys leisure time , which worries him far more than physical
pain, and may give him an opportunity for impression. In modern schools there
are many opportunities for physical exercise and its nonsense to imply that
depriving a boy of this is physically harmful.
The infliction of c orporal
punishment on a person who regards violence as a means of achieving his ends is
not likely to have any correct action; on the contrary, past experience has
shown that it will lead to a deeper feeling of hatred towards authority and
I believe that discipline is necessary in the raising and teaching of
children so they can become social, productive and responsible adults.
Punishment is a method of disciplining and corporal punishment is only one
aspect of punishment.
Parents and teachers who lower themselves to physical violence and
aggression in order to control children are setting an example that children may
try to follow (Bandura, 1967). This is the hypocrisy of Do what I say, not what
I do, but the actions are often louder than the words. By refusing to use
physical punishment, perhaps we can refine and develop other techniques which
may prove more beneficial than the easy .