In difesa delle frustate

Nel suo “In defense of flogging” Peter Moskos affronta il tema seriamente, le provocazioni non gli interessano.

Ci sono un mucchio di persone in carcere e la crudeltà del sistema va ridotta: le frustate sono una soluzione.

L’ introspezione è sempre il miglior punto di partenza per ogni analisi…

… Given the choice between five years in prison and ten brutal lashes, which would you choose?…

Non so se avete presente cosa sia una prigione

… Taking away a large portion of somebody’s life through incarceration is a strange concept, especially if it’s rooted not in actual punishment but rather in some hogwash about making you a better person (more on that later). But what about prison itself? Prison is first and foremost a home of involuntary confinement, a “total institution” of complete dominance and regulation…

E poi soppesate bene il fatto che la scelta è al centro dell’esperimento mentale…

… even if you’re adamant that flogging is a barbaric, inhuman form of punishment, how can offering the choice be so bad? If flogging were really worse than prison, nobody would choose it. So what’s the harm in offering corporal punishment as an alternative to incarceration?…

Sullo sfondo di questa scelta campeggia la brutta notizia – da tenere nel debito conto – che se la prigione non funziona, non funzionano nemmeno le alternative alla prigione… 

… Prisons don’t work, but unfortunately neither does traditional opposition to them. Without more radical debate, preachers for prison reform will never be heard beyond the choir. There is no shortage of ideas on such things as rehab, job training, indeterminate sentencing, restorative justice, prison survival, and reentry…

Frustare è un metodo barbarico ma forse alcune barbarie hanno una cattiva reputazione che non meritano.

Qui, ad ogni modo, si parla di sostituzione non di integrazione

… I don’t want to add caning to an already brutal system of prison; instead, I propose an alternative to incarceration, what might be called “flog-and-release.”…

Ma di cosa parliamo quando parliamo di frustate?…

… Ten lashes, a little rubbing alcohol, a few bandages, and you’d be free to go home and sleep in your own bed… Consider the case of Aaron Cohen, a New Zealander arrested with his drug-addicted mother for possessing heroin in Malaysia… It’s just incredible pain. More like a burning—like someone sticking an iron on your bum. . . . Afterwards my bum looked like a side of beef. There was three lines of raw skin with blood oozing out. . . . . You can’t sleep and can only walk like a duck. Your whole backside is three or four times bigger—swollen, black and blue. I made a full recovery within a month and am left with only slight scarring. Emotionally, I’m okay. I haven’t had any nightmares about that day, although I’m starting to dream about the prison… you’d be led into a room where an attending physician would conduct an examination to make sure you’re physically fit enough to be flogged, that you won’t die under the intense shock of the cane… The punishment would not be a public spectacle but would not be closed to the public. There would be perhaps a dozen spectators, including bailiffs and other representatives of the court, a lawyer, a doctor, perhaps a court reporter, and maybe a few relatives of both parties, including the victim… the guard takes down your pants and adds a layer of padding over your back (to protect vital organs from errant strokes), the flogging would begin… the skin at the point of contact is usually split open and, after three strokes, the buttocks will be covered with blood. All the strokes prescribed by the court . . . are given at one and the same time, at half minute intervals. . . . . The stroke follows the count, and the succeeding count is usually made about half a minute after the stroke has landed. Most of the prisoners put up a violent struggle after each of the first three strokes. Mr. Quek [the prison director] said: “After that, their struggles lessen as they become weaker. At the end of the caning, those who receive more than three strokes will be in a state of shock. Many will collapse, but the medical officer and his team of assistants are on hand to revive them and apply antiseptic on the caning wound.”…

Il compenso delle frustate:

… once they’ve patched you up, you’d be allowed to leave the courthouse a free man—no striped pajamas, no gangs, no learning from other criminals, no fear. You’d never have to find out what the inside of a prison is like

Per valutare questa soluzione si tenga presente che oggi il movimento anti-carcere è in stato fallimentare…

… The prison-abolition movement seems to have died right after a 1973 Presidential Advisory Commission said, “No new institutions for adults should be built, and existing institutions for juveniles should be closed,” and concluded, “The prison, the reformatory and the jail have achieved only a shocking level of failure.” Since then, even though violent crime in America has gone down, the incarceration rate has increased a whopping 500 percent…

Ma il carcere è utile? Non sembra proprio…

… To understand the uselessness of incarceration—to appreciate just how specious the connection between increased incarceration and decreased crime really is—consider New York City. Not only did New York drastically cut crime, it did so while incarcerating fewer people… Better policing and massive immigration—not increased incarceration—contributed to New York’s crime drop. In the 1990s the NYPD got back in the crime prevention game: Drug dealers were pushed indoors, and crack receded in general. Also, police focused on quality-of-life issues, the so-called “broken windows.” At the same time more than one million foreign immigrants moved to New York City. Whether due to a strong work ethic, fear of deportation, traditional family values, or having the desire and means to emigrate in the first place, immigrants (nationwide and in New York City) have lower rates of crime and incarceration than native-born Americans. Astoundingly, today more than one in three New Yorkers are foreign born. Although policing in New York City deservedly received a lot of credit for the city’s crime drop, strangely, few people credit immigrants and almost nobody seemed to notice the winning strategy of “decarceration.”…  From 1970 to 1991 crime rose while we locked up a million more people…

Ma perché il carcere non riduce il crimine?

… One reason prison doesn’t reduce crime is that many prison-worthy offenses—especially drug crimes—are economically demand-motivated. This doesn’t change when a drug dealer is locked up… The war on drugs may have started as a response to a drug problem, but it’s created an even larger and entirely preventable prohibition problem… Prison reformers—and I wish them well—tinker at the edges of a massive failed system…

Il problema nella sua essenza:

… To bring our incarceration back to a civilized level—one we used to have and much more befitting a rich, modern nation—we would have to reduce the number of prisoners by 85 percent. Without alternative punishments, this will not happen anytime soon. Even the most optimistically progressive opponent of prison has no plan to release two million prisoners…

Depenalizzare? Forse, ad ogni modo questa soluzione richiede tempo, bisogna agire subito.

Un altro vantaggio delle frustate…

… we could offer the lash in exchange for sentence years, after the approval of some parole board designed to keep the truly dangerous behind bars. As a result, our prison population would plummet. This would not only save money but save prisons for those who truly deserve to be there: the uncontrollably dangerous…

C’è gente che non ripeterà mai il crimine che ha commesso: una volta creata la deterrenza con le frustate, tenerla in gabbia è inutile…

Bernard Madoff, famously convicted in 2009 for running a massive Ponzi scheme, is being incarcerated and costing the public even more money. Why? He’s no threat to society. Nobody would give him a penny to invest. But Madoff did wrong and deserves to be punished. Better to cane him and let him go…

Le frustate assolvono anche alla funzione retributiva della pena, un compito essenziale…

…  imagine being the victim of a violent mugging. The last thing you remember before slipping into unconsciousness is the mugger pissing on you and laughing. Such things happen. Luckily, police catch the bastard, and he is quickly convicted. What should happen next? What if there were some way to reform this violent criminal without punishing him? In Sleeper, Woody Allen’s futuristic movie from the 1970s, there’s a device like a small walk-in closet called the “orgasmatron.” A person goes in and closes the door, lights flash, and three seconds later, well . . . that’s why they call it the orgasmatron. Now imagine, if you will, a device similar to the orgasmatron called the “reformatron.” It’s the perfect rehabilitation machine for criminals… The cured criminal thanks God, kisses his baby’s mother, and walks out of the courtroom a free man to go home, relax, and think about job possibilities… the concept is disturbingly lacking in justice…

Non è un caso che molti sostengono la pena di morte ammettendo anche se convinti che non abbia un effetto deterrente.

Insomma, le frustate: 1) sono meno costose per la vittima e per la comunità, 2) producono un identico se non maggiore effetto deterrente, 3) producono un identico se non maggiore effetto retributivo, 4) producono un minore effetto diseducativo, 5) riducono la popolazione carceraria riservando spazi agli individui più pericolosi, 6) rendono inutili le difficili riforme e le improbabili depenalizzazioni, 7) sono meno crudeli in quanto somministrate solo dietro scelta volontaria.

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