Back in 1994, an American teenager named Michael P. Fay was caned in Singapore for theft and vandalism. That incident sparked an outcry here in the United States, as many people found it barbaric (to be fair, the reaction was far from uniform - a lot of Americans actually favored it).
Fast forward to today. Peter Moskos, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, is advocating flogging as a viable punishment to replace prison time:
[Moskos] argues that our prison system is not only overcrowded and violent, but that it is completely ineffective. "I can't think of another institution that has failed as mightily as the prison has," he writes. As an alternative, he says, the least dangerous convicts should be given a choice — jail time, or two lashes for every year of their sentence.
Moskos predicts the prison population would see a massive decline, freeing up billions of dollars for more useful purposes. Others suggest government-sanctioned violence would do nothing to reduce crime, and might even increase criminals' violent tendencies. Is flogging really our best option?
What do you think? Should we bring back the cat o' nine tails? Would you prefer flogging to years of imprisonment?