Saturday, August 11, 2012


Are there any alternatives to long minimum mandatory prison sentences that ruin lives? Last year your favorite Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer suggested that defendants confronted with prison terms could be given the choice of prison time or a public flogging.
Now a philosophy blog looks at alternate punishment and finds that flogging might not be as inhumane as years of interminable lost time spent in prison. He notes that the long prison sentences are ineffective because people lack enough imagination and insight to fully comprehend how it would feel to lose one's freedom for years within a prison. Here are some excerpts from The Philosopher's Beard: Why prison doesn't work and what to do about it:
Is public flogging better than mandatory minimum sentence in Clearwater, Largo & Tampa, Florida
Public Flogging in the 1900s
Prison time is a very severe punishment. JS Mill likened it to being consigned to a living tomb. Any society that employs it should do so with care and restraint... Aside from failing in humanity, prison does not even perform well at the specific functions of a criminal justice system, namely, deterrence, retribution, security, and rehabilitation. We need to reconsider our over-reliance on prison, and reconsider whether other types of punishment, including capital and corporal punishment, may sometimes be more effective and more humane.
The fundamental problem with prison time, as Mill notes, is that its severity is hard to imagine... It is hard to imagine quite how it must be to be confined to a small space and narrow routine for periods of years, or even until death. There is no great drama to focus on. No particularly terrible things happen. Just more of the nothing...
A punishment that is hard to imagine will not work very well. First, people contemplating breaking the law will not be especially deterred by dread of the punishment... When one considers the advantages of flogging more generally one can see that it measures up well against prison time, especially longer prison sentences (more than a year). Its drama makes it much easier to imagine, indeed to over-imagine, and so it should work better than prison as a deterrent. For the same reason, it also seems better able to satisfy legitimate demands for retribution by those who have been wronged...Yet, unlike prison, achieving this effect doesn't require that large chunks of a person's life be thrown away, together with their relationships and mental well-being. Thus, exactly because of its barbarism, flogging seems a more efficient punishment because the total suffering it inflicts is less. In my view, that makes it more humane.
Me, just bring in a doctor with a large enough needle - the sight of that will be enough to keep your Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney  crime-free for years.