History of Corporal Punishment Continued

 Before the 8th Amendment was pasted, many prisoners were victims of corporal punishment. They were whipped and flogged as they were sent to their deaths. The 8th amendment required that all execution be as painless as possible, in turn outlawing self severed justice for prisons guards as well as others who wished to inflict pain on the criminals. With this amendment we saw the invention of such things as lethal injection, which causes the least amount of pain to a person.

Long before the inventions of large prison networks and surveillance jailed offenders, corporal punishment was the main means to punish those who committed a crime of the law or a crime in the eyes of the punisher. Primitive jails were used only to house a person awaiting punishments via the means of corporal punishment. The person’s crime was evaluated and a punishment given to match the level of crime. Each corporal punishment contains three elements:  humiliation, pain and disfigurement.  For example a person catch stealing might be chained in the village square with a sign taped on their chest saying they was a theft.  The sign might also say to steal something of the person’s since the person was a thief themselves. Corporal punishment sometimes follows this eye for an eye situation but in most cases does not.

In most cases a victim’s corporal punishment was not level to the crime committed. For example, in medieval times victims were tortured for not believing the dominant faith of the country they lived in. They were whipped, deprived of food and disgraced all for the small crime of simply not believing in what the other person thought was right. Another problem was the corporal punishment system was bias. It was the poor that most often received the harsher punishments even when a noble committed the same crime. The rich were rarely physically harmed no matter how bad the crime was.  With corporal punishment the justice was flaws since the punishments were tailored to ones class position instead of the crime.

Corporal punishment of the past was bias as well to gender. Some punishments were used only for women. Crimes like gossiping and being argumentative were considered flaws of women and needed there on set of punishments to go with them. Methods such as dunking stool and a scold’s bridle were used to inflict pain on women. In a ducking stool method, women were set on a see saw chair and continuously had their heads plunged in cold watch as a way of cooling their tempers off. In scold’s bridles, a woman’s head was placed in an iron cage of heavy weight. There was an iron flat piece that would be jammed over the women’s tongue, causing her pain when she tried to talk. It was thought that is would teach her not to gossip anymore. Methods such as whipping and flogging were often avoided for the social reason that women should not be seen topless in public.   

Children were almost always victims of corporal punishment. In the past it was considered normal to beat and spank a child if they did wrong. Religious bodies and governments supported this as the ultimate method of instilling values in children. Children were to accept their parent’s rules as laws even we these laws violated standers of living and good health.   In the past children had no real strong legal laws to protect them from when punishment turned to abuse. Corporal punishment borders on the lines of abuse. With no one there to say when that line was crossed, many children were hurt for no reason. These children would in turn grow up and abuse their children. From a young age they were taught they can simply hurt a weaker person than themselves if they disprove of them. The miss guideline produced a culture of child violence that was seen as the best way of showing dominance and commanding respect.

With corporal punishment the main means of punishment, the world did not give thought into alternatives. They as a whole didn’t put effort to a friendlier or less physical punishment system. As our society evolved we found that other methods, other than corporal punishment worked better. With this finding people as a whole are striving for a more humanitarian way of life.

Most corporal punishments of the past would be considered pure torture with no redeeming value into day’s world. We must not forget that these extreme foams of corporal punishment are the roots to the very kind we use today. Think next time when you go to hit your child. Think to yourself about the children of generations before that were hit until they crossed the line of abuse we have today. Think it there’s any other way you can instill a lesson. If there isn’t, mind that you don’t let yourself go too far because if you do, you’ll find yourself a parent turned dominating child abuser. Think before you use any corporal punishment on anyone. Would you want it used on you? Would you accept it without challenge if placed on you for the same crime? Once you answer these questions to yourself, you’ll see the true nature of this form of punishment.