Sanaz Alasti leaves the mainstream alternatives to incarceration to examine a different, seemingly archaic approach, physical (but non-carceral) punishment—corporal punishment. This book ignites debates about the history, persistence, and use of corporal punishment in criminal justice systems.
Alasti compares penological practices in in Western societies, represented by the United States, and Islamic societies, represented by Iran, to analyze which practices are more deterrent, less costly, and most humane. While Alasti does not suggest this should be the norm, she does present intriguing questions. Which is more barbaric? Is judicial corporal punishment a more humane and effective form of punishment compared to incarceration? Is corporal punishment a less cruel alternative to spending years behind bars in primitive and punitive jails and prisons? This book would be of interest to those studying criminology, criminal justice, history, law, and sociology.
Sanaz Alasti is professor of criminal justice and director of the center for death penalty studies at Lamar University.
List of Tables and Figures
Chapter 1: Definition and History of Corporal Punishment
Chapter 2: Incarceration v. Corporal Punishment
Chapter 3: Penological Objectives and Advantages of Corporal Punishment
Chapter 4: From Different Method to International Restrictions
Chapter 5: Contemporary Use of Corporal Punishments
Chapter 6: Corporal Punishment and Human Rights
Appendix: Table of Cases
About the Author
Sanaz Alasti provides a vigorous overview contrasting the persistence of the lash in some Islamic criminal justice systems with centuries of corporal punishment in Western societies and its eventual decline. She uncovers a small brigade of dissident legal scholars eager to revive corporal punishment in the mass-incarceration USA, while opinion polls reveal occasional bursts of public zeal for inflicting painful retribution on convicts. When courts in the multi-religious city-state of Singapore sentenced teenage vandal Michael Fay to a harsh caning in 1994, a survey by the Los Angeles Times of U.S. opinion revealed that men favored this punishment by a margin of 61 percent to 36 percent, while women disapproved by totals of 58 percent to 39 percent. This book provides the wider historical context and legal rationales for corporal punishment, while also revealing the human rights traditions that have sought its abolition.