Should corporal punishment should be banned in US?Should corporal punishment should be banned in US?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Henry David Thoreau wrote in his "Resistance to Civil Government,"

That government is best which governs least...The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it.

Thoreau may not have realized how prophetic his words were.  The intrusiveness of the government in the individual lives of Americans nowadays is frightening.  Parents fear punishing their children because someone may report them for "abuse."  People look over their shoulders before they speak on various subjects less Big Brother be listening or watching.

The worst effect of the Big Brother government is that responsibility is taken from individuals.  Parents heretofore were in charge of the raising of their children, and, as such, they were much more proactive in teaching and reinforcing values.  One only needs to watch families at the malls or other public places to see that discipline has been lost. 

While they are always cases of abuse of power in any realm, it seems that there are too many people of the older generations who have become productive and decent adults for very strong arguments for the banning of corporal punishment.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At least usually when we discuss this topic in the US, we are referring to corporal punishment by parents or (at one time) teachers.  I've never heard of any discussion of corporal punishment as a criminal punishment the way it is used, for example, in Singapore.

The main argument for allowing parents to practice corporal punishment on their children is that it is not the place of the government to interfere unnecessarily in the private affairs of a family.

"Unnecessarily" is the important word here.  Proponents of corporal punishment argue that it is not abuse and is therefore no different than a parent's decision to not let their teen drive for two weeks as punishment for something.  These proponents point to the fact that corporal punishment was common in every generation before now so it can't be that bad.

So, the overall argument is that it's not abusive so it's none of the government's business.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the arguments that enhances why corporal punishment should not be banned is because it increases the power of executive, and allows for more freedom on its part.  In empowering the executive or law enforcement branch, the belief is that more freedom to extract information or inflict punishment can be given.  This allows for a greater sense of efficiency and control.  An underlying belief is that the laws and institutional frameworks have been used by criminals and law breakers as a shield to protect themselves from the strongest impact of the enforcement branch.  Instilling corporal punishment, accordingly, would recalibrate this balance to ensure that individuals who have public interests at their heart would be able to carry out their duty.

pdeverit | Student

Most compelling of all reasons to abandon this worst of all bad habits is the fact that buttock-battering can be unintentional sexual abuse for some children. There is an abundance of educational resources, testimony, documentation, etc available on the subject that can easily be found by doing a little research with the recommended reads-visit

Just a handful of those helping to raise awareness of why child bottom-slapping isn't a good idea:

American Academy of Pediatrics,
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,
American Psychological Association,
Center For Effective Discipline,
Churches' Network For Non-Violence,
Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
Parenting In Jesus' Footsteps,
Global Initiative To End All Corporal Punishment of Children,
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In 26 countries, child corporal punishment is prohibited by law (with more in process). In fact, the US was the only UN member that did not ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

pdeverit | Student

People used to think it was necessary to "spank" adult members of the community, military trainees, and prisoners. In some countries they still do. In our country, it is considered sexual assault if  a person over the age of 18 is "spanked", but only if over the age of 18.

For one thing, buttock-battering can vibrate the pudendal nerve, which can lead to sexual arousal. There are multitudinous other physiological ways in which it can be sexually abusive, but I won't list them all here. One can use the resources I've posted if they want to learn more.

Child buttock-battering vs. DISCIPLINE:

Child buttock-battering (euphemistically labeled "spanking","swatting","switching","smacking", "paddling",or other cute-sounding names) for the purpose of gaining compliance is nothing more than an inherited bad habit.

Its a good idea for people to take a look at what they are doing, and learn how to DISCIPLINE instead of hit.

I think the reason why television shows like "Supernanny" and "Dr. Phil" are so popular is because that is precisely what many (not all) people are trying to do.

There are several reasons why child bottom-slapping isn't a good idea. Here are some good, quick reads recommended by professionals:

Plain Talk About Spanking
by Jordan Riak,

The Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children
by Tom Johnson,

by Lesli Taylor M.D. and Adah Maurer Ph.D.

magicworld | Student

I don't think corporal punishment should be banned all the lifer's and rapest and child molesters they should just give lethal injection they have a very low recovery rate, they are very sick people.

krishna-agrawala | Student

Corporal punishment involves inflicting bodily pain for criminal or other legal offences, but it excludes the death sentence. Currently in the US there is no system of corporal punishment. The only form of punishment used in the US are imprisonment, fine, being put on probation or supervision, and death sentence. This is in effect means that corporal punishment is banned in the US.

The question is asking for justifications for lifting this ban. I personally do not believe in corporal punishment, but if one has to think up reasons for supporting corporal punishment, it could include the following.

  • Corporal punishment takes much shorter time but is more intense form of punishment then imprisonment. Therefore the corporal punishment may be a more effective deterrent for the intending criminal. Similarly it may be more effective in driving home in the mind of criminal the negative consequences of criminal actions, and in this way be more effective in reforming criminals.
  • Corporal punishment affect all the criminals in the same way irrespective of their financial position and the value of time for them. In this way it is more fair than either fine or imprisonment.
  • Imprisonment involves considerable expenses on part of the government. Corporal punishment does not involve  such expenses.
  • A long jail term may denies a criminal to reform. In contrast a criminal reformed by corporal punishment can quickly restart his life in normal way.