Corporal Punishment

Reading about caning as a form of corporal punishment in Malaysia and Singapore leaves one wondering whether there is more to this practice than the mere infliction of physical injury on law offenders. The stunning fact is that countries which firmly exercise caning for law offenders have reported lower violent crime rates compared to others. In Singapore, one of the countries where caning is common, has recorded the lowest violent crime rates in the world (Farrell, 2008).

It is believed that Singapore adopted caning from English criminal laws. This form of corporal punishment is also a common practice in most British colonies (Farrell, 2008). There could be many reasons as to why some countries still practice this law. What startles me is that even after becoming a sovereign state from British dictatorial rule in 1965, Singapore chose to continue with this law which is typical of a colonial administration. According to (Farrell, 2008), some of the crimes punishable by caning during British rule in Singapore included robbery, house trespassing, and trading in prostitution.
Even more shocking is the manner in which judicial caning is carried out in Singaporean prisons. In Singapore, the caning exercise is a ritualized ceremony carried out in a special room. A naked prisoner wearing a protective pad covering the kidney area but leaving the buttock bare is tied to a trestle, and caned by a muscular man as a warder counts the strokes loudly. The convicts who are usually wounded and bleeding are then taken for treatment. However, caning is reserved only for males aged between 16 to 50 years eliciting the question of whether justice in Singapore is gender biased. On the other hand, juveniles below the age of 16 can only be subjected to this punishment on consent by the High Court, otherwise it would be considered a criminal offence.

Punishment by caning is one of the most embarrassing ordeals a person can undergo. Anyone who wants to hold a reputable position in a public office would not want to undergo the humiliation of being stripped naked and caned. If enacted in American jurisdiction, public office holders will never dare misuse their positions all for fear of humiliation as a result of caning. According to Farrell (2008), Singapore legislation requires that male employees be caned for offences committed by a company. Although many have argued against caning in schools, the practice would be the best way to manage juvenile delinquency. However, the problem has been how the punishment is administered.

If administered brutally, caning can lead to rebellion. A firm and gentle punishment for younger children could be recommended. Students tend to regard as weak, an administration which is too gentle on them. However, caning should only be spared for the parents of the children involved since they are more responsible for their children and in an event that a teacher wants to administer this kind of punishment, the parents must be consulted and be present during the process.

However, due to the current laws existing in the American jurisdiction, canning may not be upheld well as a form of corporal punishment. This is because, the offenders have a platform to file suit against the person giving the punishment, particularly if physical harm occurs. The American judicial system would probably uphold a liability suit if any harm-even mental occurs to the victim.


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