Thursday, June 23, 2011
There have been a couple of articles in the news recently that I thought would be fun to combine into a story. First, in April the well-respected publication, The Economist, published a blog-analysis in which flogging was proposed as a way to save money in the criminal justice system. It was argued—as we have on this blog—that it is cheaper and more humane to flog someone for a transgression than to lock them up for long periods of time, hurting them and their families through the loss of jobs and the stigma attached to being an imprisoned convict.
Then, just the other day, a pool-piece appeared on an experiment in the state of Georgia, USA, where ex-cons are offered farm labor jobs to try to make up for the shortage due to new immigration laws that crack down on the use of illegal migrant farm workers. The ex-cons are required, as part of their probation, to work, but they can refuse work that they feel is unsuitable—and most find quickly that farm labor is unsuitable for them.
Migrant farm workers work long, literally back-breaking, hours in the very harsh working conditions of farms across the United States. They do this because they can be easily exploited by farm owners due to their undocumented status. Their low wages keep the price of produce low, because, as you can see from the article, the work is terrible and no one else will do it.
Obviously, for legal and moral reasons, forced labor—slave labor—is unacceptable. But punishment labor is not. Prisoners should not be forced to work for the profit of private enterprise, however, so County Farms could be established for short-term incarceration of those that just need to be taught a lesson that the lash alone will not. For those that need discipline beyond what the whip will teach, a few weeks sweating in the sun, with the ever-present threat of harsh flogging—and even just the occasional random application of the strap on the skin of a bare back--as motivation could do the trick. It would give some revenue to the county in which the person offended—helping them “pay back society” for their crimes--and it could just be a fun spectator event for those that want to sit in bleachers and watch men sweat in the sun (for which admission could be charged).
How would you like to see these young guys sweating on a Georgia County Farm, with Sergeant Stern motivating them with the lash?