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Influence of School Corporal Punishments on Crime

NCJ Number
A Maurer; J S Wallerstein
Date Published
8 pages
This comparison of school corporal punishments in the 50 States with the crime rate as measured by prison admissions in the States (1981) shows a high correlation between crime and school beatings.
The crime rates are based on the number of prison admissions in the States per 10,000 adult population in 1981 as reported by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Incidents of corporal punishment in each State are based on reports to the Office of Civil Rights for the school year 1980-81. The coefficient of correlation between prison admissions and school corporal punishments was remarkably high, indicating that corporal punishment is an aggravating factor in delinquency and criminality. This confirms the findings of the Philadelphia birth cohort study of 18-year-olds, which found that 'for identical offenses, those punished severely were more likely to be in prison than those who were punished lightly, or not at all.' It also parallels the findings of a survey of New York State prison inmates (Auburn), which reports that 95 percent of the inmates incarcerated for violent crimes had been abused as children. Tabular study data are provided, along with a list of 20 references.