Bring Back Flogging
This essay by Jeff Jacoby illustrates an authors use of ironic sarcasm otherwise known as satire to defend and illustrate his platform on his position. Jacoby uses in this essay verbal irony (persuasion in the form of ridicule). In the irony of this sort there is a contrast between what is said and what is meant.
Jacobys claim in simple is he believes that flogging should be brought back to replace the more standard conventional method of the imprisonment of violent and non-violent offenders.
His grounds for the revival of flogging stems back to his initial mention of the Puritan punishment system. He cites how in 1632 Richard Hopkins was Flogged and branded for selling guns and weapons to the Indians, how Joseph Gatchell in 1684 convicted of blasphemy, had his tongue pierced with a hot iron, and finally in 1694 Hannah Newell and her consort were lashed for adultery. He concludes that the corporal punishment system did not vanish with the puritans, Deleware did not get around to repealing it till 1972. Jacobys sarcasm can be noted by the way he illustrates the punishment of various acts. He notes in a list that killers, drug dealers, and other acts ultimately end up in prison. Prison he says seems to be the all purpose, all in one punishment. His statistical evidence is that of the startling 1.6 million Americans behind bars today. This represents a 250% increase since 1980. According to him we cage individuals at an alarming rate despite the general consensus of the criminal system being a failure. He cites the information of Princeton criminologist John DiIlulio that about three out of four felons are released early or not locked up at all. Many of them are on the streets without meaningful parole or supervision. And while many believe that amateur thugs should be deterred before they become career criminals, it is almost unheard of for judges to send first or second time offenders to jail. Jacoby then goes on to ridicule our current penal system by estimating the cost to cage criminals at about thirty thousand per inmate per year. Jacoby believes that prison is a graduate school of criminal studies, that they emerge more ruthless and savvy then when they entered. Also for many of them, prison is a sign of manhood or even a status symbol. In 1994 the Globe reported that more than two hundred thousand prison inmates are raped each year, usually to the indifference of the guards. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun has written that the horrors experienced by many young inmates particularly those of nonviolent offenses are unimaginable.
Jacobys argument of flogging attempts to show how it can be more productive over the conventional method of punishment seemingly the only way, imprisonment. His beliefs are that public whippings will prevent youths and first time offenders from becoming lifelong felons. The benefits deduced from his argument for flogging assuming it proves to be conclusive would be such. Lowering the rate of felons in jail, freeing up space for the more violent offenders. The appalling estimated amount of thirty thousand a year per inmate would be saved. A public whipping would not be associated with respect and sign of manhood or status symbol that prison serves for many offenders. Flogging he believes would deter many of the first time offenders and youth along with preventing them from being repeat and long time offenders. The pain, scars, and embarrassment of public whippings would far exceed the value or risk reward benefit of doing a petty crime thus forcing people to think about their actions before they did it. Jacoby contends that he is unsure whether being whipped is more degrading that being caged. At the end of his essay he draws attention to the point of the terrible risk of being raped in prison as an argument in favor of replacing imprisonment with flogging.
I think that Jacoby appeals to the readers sense of sympathy for the wrongly accused and incarcerated, along with the non-violent felons in prison. Jacoby asserts that many will value the worth of flogging being that it could prevent wrongly accused or non-violent offenders from