Letter: Smacking into submission

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From Ms Lynne Reid Banks

Sir: It is a real tragedy that the rise in crime has brought us to the state where even a woman MP is prepared to recommend having criminals publicly caned on television. I can think of nothing more calculated to brutalise our population than this. Surely the next logical step would be public executions. When these were held in this country it did very little in the way of deterring crime or of making us a more civilised nation.

Has Ms Peacock asked herself any of the fundamental questions, such as who is to perform this civic duty? Are we to employ sadists - no one else would undertake it - to solve our problems and assuage the wrongs of victims? Or perhaps the victims themselves could be given this disgusting task? Better than doing it in cold blood, perhaps. And the warders, doctors, and for that matter, camera crews who would have to be involved? The whole idea is repugnant in the extreme.

On the other hand, if we are to bring back a punishment formerly employed with some success, what about the stocks? But at all events we should not descend into any of this barbarism, thus admitting total defeat in the war against crime by making criminals and brutes of ourselves, before we have tried to attack the causes of crime with a little more energy, common sense and imagination than Ms Peacock or the party she supports have displayed.

Yours faithfully,

LYNNE REID BANKS

Beaminster, Dorset

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