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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 11, 2011 / 9 Tamuz, 5771

Let convicts choose: Prison or the lash?

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | About 15 years ago, I wrote a column -- "Bring back flogging" -- that called for reviving corporal punishment for convicted criminals. Rather than continuing to lock up millions of offenders, many of them nonviolent, in crowded and brutal prisons, I suggested, it would be more humane to punish at least some of them with a straightforward whipping and let them get on with their lives. Americans have been taught to think of flogging as hopelessly barbaric and primitive. But is corporal punishment really less civilized than a criminal-justice system that relies almost exclusively on caging human beings?

It was a pretty good column, and I always had a hunch it would make an even better book. Now it has, and I only wish I had written it.

Peter Moskos, a criminologist at the City University of New York and a former Baltimore police officer, has just published In Defense of Flogging, a serious if startling proposal to drastically shrink America's "massive and horrible system of incarceration" by letting most convicted criminals choose between going to prison and a semipublic flogging with a rattan cane. An absurd thesis? Don't reject it out of hand, Moskos says, before considering what you would want for yourself. "Given the choice between five years in prison and 10 brutal lashes, which would you choose?" A flogging would be intensely painful and bloody, but it would be over in a few minutes. Prison would mean losing years of your life, being locked away from everything and everyone you care about.

Offered those alternatives -- hard time or the lash -- most people would choose the lash. Better the short, sharp humiliation of a flogging than the prolonged emotional torture of being shut in a cage. Better to be punished and be done with it.


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Its title notwithstanding, In Defense of Flogging is less a brief for the resumption of corporal punishment than an indictment of America's appalling system of mass imprisonment.

The United States locks up people at a rate unmatched anywhere on Earth. There are 2.3 million people behind bars in this country -- more than the populations of Boston, Baltimore, and San Francisco combined. Both in raw numbers and as a percentage of the whole, the United States has more prisoners than any other country. With an incarceration rate of 756 inmates per 100,000 residents, America outjails not only every advanced democracy -- in Canada and Western Europe, the rate of imprisonment is about one-seventh what it is here -- but even the world's dictatorships and autocracies. In Russia, the incarceration rate is 629 per 100,000. In Cuba, it's 530. In Iran, it's 220.

Are Americans safer because so many of their fellow citizens are behind bars? That's far from clear. "From 1970 to 1991 crime rose while we locked up a million more people," Moskos writes. "Since then we've locked up another million and crime has gone down." Was it only the second million who were the "real" criminals?

Prisons are good at keeping violent predators off the streets, but relatively few people are imprisoned because we fear what they might do if we release them. Most inmates are locked up because locking people up is the way we punish virtually every offense -- from committing murder to laundering money to selling marijuana. Prisons were originally conceived as a means of curing criminals and bringing them to penance. What they have turned into is a vast American gulag of pervasive brutality and brain-numbing boredom, replete with psychological damage, pervasive drug use, gang intimidation, and an estimated 200,000 rapes a year.

For dangerous felons there may be no alternative to incarceration. But for millions of nonviolent common criminals, low-level drug offenders, and white-collar swindlers, Moskos writes, "the punishment of prison is far, far worse than the crime they have committed." Why not offer them instead the option of corporal punishment, under a doctor's supervision, and followed by immediate release? Considering all the costs and cruelties imposed by America's gigantic penal system -- imposed not only on the individuals we lock up, but on their families, on the taxpayers, on minority communities -- wouldn't flogging be a more humane and reasonable alternative?

Granted, flogging criminals would be ugly. But it would also make their punishment immediate and transparent. And it wouldn't be nearly as destructive and dysfunctional as keeping 2.3 million people in cages. America's penal system is a national disgrace. In Defense of Flogging suggests one way to make it better.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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