Corporal punishment

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Corporal punishment is a kind of physical punishment that involves the deliberate infliction of pain as retribution for an offence, or for the purpose of disciplining or reforming a wrongdoer, or to deter attitudes or behaviour deemed unacceptable. The term usually refers to methodically striking the offender with an implement, whether in judicial, domestic, or educational settings.

Corporal punishment may be divided into three main types:

Corporal punishment of minors within domestic settings is lawful in all 50 of the United States and, according to a 2000 survey, is widely approved by parents.[1] It has been officially outlawed in 29 countries.[2]

Corporal punishment in school is still legal in some parts of the world, including 20 of the States of the USA, but has been outlawed in other places, including Canada, Kenya, Japan, South Africa, New Zealand, and nearly all of Europe except the Czech Republic[3] and France.[4]

Judicial corporal punishment has virtually disappeared from the western world but remains in force in many parts of Africa and Asia.


History of corporal punishment

While the early history of corporal punishment is unclear, the practice was recorded as early as c 10th Century BC in Míshlê Shlomoh, (Solomon's Proverbs),[5] and it was certainly present in classical civilizations, being used in Greece, Rome, and Egypt for both judicial and educational discipline.[6] Some states gained a reputation for using such punishments cruelly; Sparta, in particular, used them as part of a disciplinary regime designed to build willpower and physical strength.[7] Although the Spartan example was extreme, corporal punishment was possibly the most frequent type of punishment. In the Roman Empire, the maximum penalty which a roman citizen could receive under the law was 40 "lashes" or "strokes" with a whip applied to the back and shoulders, or with the "fasces" (similar to a birch rod, but consisting of 8-10 lengths of willow rather than birch) applied to the buttocks. Such punishments could draw blood, and were frequently inflicted in public.

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