Letter: Persuasive effects of a good whacking

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The Independent Online
Sir: Despite devoting much space to the tender topic of Michael Fay's impending caning (leading article and Section II front page, 18 April), you contrive to avoid addressing the one aspect of the case which is of any serious interest: will whacking work?

Such punishment is doubtless 'degrading' - it's supposed to be - but it's only 'inhuman' if it fails to persuade the recipient to mend his ways, in which case it becomes 'gratuitous violence'. Where are the statistics for recidivism vis-a-vis those flogged? Do they come back for a second dose?

If six-of-the-best is sufficient to deter the malefactor from further misbehaviour, then, rather than criticising the Singaporese, we should adopt the practice immediately. By this simple, cheap and efficent method Britain could reduce prison overcrowding and juvenile delinquency at a stroke, as it were.

Yours,

ANDREW MONTGOMERY

Ham, Surrey

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