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Bring Back Flogging

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Every civilized society makes laws that protect its values, and society expects from every single person to obey to these laws. Whenever a person from this society breaks one of those laws, the rulers of the society punish him or her either by putting the person behind bars, whipping him or her, or exiling the person. A great debate has been raging since human society started. Some say that depriving a wrongdoer from his or her freedom is the best way to deter him or her from breaking the law again; some prefer corporal punishment. In this essay “Bring Back Flogging,” the author Jeff Jacoby argues effectively that flogging can be a successful alternative to the prison that the U.S. uses for every offensive. The author builds his argument using implied thesis statement, inductive logic, and serious stance toward his readers. During the seventeen century, flogging was a common punishment for lawbreakers among Boston’s Puritans. Jacoby draws the attention of his readers to flogging as an efficient punishment.

He says that this country counts on imprisonment as a punishment to all kind of crimes, violent or non-violent once, but the success of this system should be open to debate. Jacoby says that the use of prison for non-violent offenders is expansive and inhuman because the prisoner can be beaten, raped, or even killed there. Jacoby argued that flogging is efficient and can be a cure for the increase of the rate of the crimes in this country. Overall, the author in his article was successful in grabbing his reader’s attention by using various methods to support his argument. From his introduction, Jacoby gives his readers some historical facts and background to catch their attention from the beginning “whipt, &branded with a hott iron on one of his cheekes.” Joseph Gatchell, convicted of blasphemy in 1684…. when Hannah Newell pleaded guilty to adultery in 1694…. He was sentenced to 25 lashes.” The readers were informed of what flogging is, and the author then asks them in the flowing paragraphs why not use it as an alternative punishment?

Another method the author uses in his argument is statistics. He uses this statistic “Fifty-eight percent of all murders do not result in a prison term” to make his reader aware of the flaw of the U.S. criminal justice systems. Jacoby uses quotation from authorities’ testimonies. He quotes John Dilulio, a noted Princeton criminologist: “About three of every four convicted criminals…are on the streets without meaningful probation or parole supervision.” Also Jacoby quotes Harry Blackmun, the former Supreme Court Justice, “The horrors experienced by many young inmates, particularly those who … are convicted of nonviolent offenses.” The author uses these two responsible sources to give credence to his article “Bring Back Flogging” and to point out that the pain of corporal punishment is less than the one some prisoners undergo. Jacoby keeps his readers’ attention focused on the issue rather than definitions and details. Whenever the author comes with a fact or statistic, he does not use too many details to prove it because he does not want his audience to get lost among those details and forget about the issue itself.

For examples, when the author wants to show to his readers how much an inmate costs to his society per year, he reports “a common estimate is $ 30000 per inmate per year” the reader here was informed about the economical cost of a prisoner without any more details. The same thing happened when the author points out to the fact that “Many states have gone on prison-building sprees….. To ease the pressure, nearly all convicted felons are released early.” He does not give to his readers any other details. He tries again to support his argument without losing his readers among the details. All he wants here is to show to his reader the prison’s congestion and its consequence towards the justice system. Jacoby uses some terms to set down the prison punishment or to devalue the statement of some rulers. When the author uses the term “cage”, he wants to describe the humiliation a prisoner undergoes. We normally use cages to lock up animals, and our society use the same thing to lock up a human being.

The author here implies that we degrade our men and women, and we put them in the same place as animals. Another word is “deluded”; the author here tries to convince his readers that the politicians who talk “about how safe our cities become” is a result of the success of the justice system in the U.S. are misinformed. Therefore, the author here implies that his data are more accurate than what his adversary says. The author built his argument through combination of emotions and logic. When he quoted from the former Supreme Court justice Harry Blackmun that “The horrors experienced by many young inmates, particularly those who … are convicted of nonviolent offenses,” Jacoby tries here to convince some of his readers who use their emotions to describe the flogging as “too degrading” “too brutal” without looking to the efficiency this punishment.

The author uses the logic also to convince the rest of his readers by the use of facts like “And while everyone knows that amateur thugs should be deterred before they become career criminals.” Jacoby here uses a statement that a corporal punishment can prevent, at least the beginner criminals, from going further to become career criminals because he expects from his readers to know how hard and shameful it is to be punished in front of friends, family, and public. Jacoby uses inductive reasoning in his article, and his thesis was implied. He starts from facts, statistics, and information that we can observe and understand to reach a conclusion about what we do not see. For the cost of an inmate, the author use the statistic of “a common estimate is $30,000 per inmate per year” to show us the high cost of depriving someone from his liberty as a punishment. Therefore, the prison is not an effective way economically, which is the conclusion the author wants from this statistic. The thesis he made was not explicit; the reader has to read the whole article and see his suggestions, questions, and examples that imply that flogging is a cheap and an efficient way to punish criminals.

“Are we quite certain the Puritans have nothing to teach us about dealing with criminals?” is one of the questions that implies the author thesis. The author knows his audience very well, and he does not want to bore them with a lot of details; he knows that most of his readers are from Boston, and they are well informed what flogging means. Other readers, like me, can have the main idea from the information he provides about the flogging. He misspells some words to take his readers back to the Puritans’ era. In addition, he knows that in this society of twenty first century no one of his readers will accept the corporal punishment as it was in the puritans’ society. Therefore Jacoby makes a statement in which he explains what he really means with flogging “But what is the objection to corporal punishment that doesn’t maim or mutilate? Why not sentence at least some criminals – say, thieves and drunk drivers – to a public whipping?” Jacoby draws the attention of his readers towards the issue of the flaw in the United States justice system, and he asks his readers questions and makes suggestions. He leaves his readers to come with conclusions after he implicitly makes his statement, uses inductive logic, and shows his stance toward his readers.

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