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In Defense of Floggingby Peter Moskos
Synopses & Reviews
Prisons impose tremendous costs, yet they're easily ignored. Criminals-- even low-level nonviolent offenders-- enter our dysfunctional criminal justice system and disappear into a morass that's safely hidden from public view. Our "tough on crime" political rhetoric offers us no way out, and prison reformers are too quickly dismissed as soft on criminals. Meanwhile, the taxpayer picks up the extraordinary and unnecessary bill.
In Defense of Flogging presents a solution both radical and simple: give criminals a choice between incarceration and the lash. Flogging is punishment: quick, cheap, and honest.
Noted criminologist Peter Moskos, in irrefutable style, shows the logic of the new system while highlighting flaws in the status quo. Flogging may be cruel, but In Defense of Flogging shows us that compared to our broken prison system, it is the lesser of two evils.
"Moskos, an assistant professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice who specializes in police and criminal science, debates with the utmost seriousness the merits of flogging as an alternative to incarceration. Whether it's called caning or lashing, he concludes flogging, which penetrates the flesh but is over quickly, is less cruel than depriving people of a chunk of their lives in 'a barbaric, inhuman' institution where a record number of 2.3 million Americans endure insult and humiliation, with a high incidence of sexual aggression, rape, and a great risk of contracting a communicable disease. Moskos lists the long history of prison reforms in the U.S., but concludes that our penal system remains 'an insidious marriage of entombment and torture.' Presenting the Singapore and Malaysian models of flogging, the author draws on interviews and recommendations to boost his 'thought experiment.' Indeed, when Moskos mentions the possibility of electric shock as another option , readers will begin to wonder if the writer is poking outlandish fun and crafting a notion similar to Swift's 1729 classic 'A Modest Proposal,' using satire to call attention to the 'shame' of our inhumane prison system. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book News Annotation:
Moskos (law, police science, and criminal justice administration, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and City U. of New York) offers a creative critique of the current criminal justice system. Whether or not he actually believes that flogging is the most appropriate alternative, the author presents details regarding recommended implementation in an attempt to open up discussion of alternatives to imprisonment. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Is the lash a sensible and necessary alternative to our broken criminal justice system?
About the Author
Peter Moskos is assistant professor of Law, Police Science, and Criminal Justice Administration at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the City University of New Yorks Doctoral Program in Sociology, and is a former Baltimore City police officer. Author of Cop in the Hood, which won the 2008 PROSE Award for best Sociology Book, he lives in Queens, New York.
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History and Social Science » Crime » Criminology