Book Review: In Defense of Flogging


In Defense of Flogging

By Peter Moskos

BASIC BOOKS

Though its title suggests a Swiftian satire, this book by criminal justice professor Peter Moskos is a genuine call to reinstate flogging as a voluntary alternative to incarceration. The author, a former Baltimore police officer, opens with a simple query: “Which would you choose?” For those who consider flogging barbaric, he cites prison overcrowding, mental-health neglect, gang rape, and post-incarceration homelessness. Warehousing criminals is far crueler, Moskos insists. Why not lock up the most-hardened cases and let the rest tend to their damaged hinds and get on with their lives? If our penal system remains “an expensive and immoral failure,” he writes, “then bring on the lash.”

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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