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Penality, Power, and Polity: Exploring the Relationship Between Political Repression and Corporal Punishment

NCJ Number
International Criminal Justice Review Volume: 21 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2011 Pages: 443-461
Laurie A. Gould; Matthew Pate
Date Published
December 2011
19 pages
This study examined the relationship between corporal punishment and polity using a sample 181 nation states.
Worldwide, the punishment of law violators takes many forms, with some countries relying heavily on incarceration and others favoring a mix of punishments including incarceration, corporal punishment, and the death penalty. Determining why a nation chooses to implement one sanction over another requires an examination of political factors. While some notable research has examined the correlations between incarceration rates, death penalty retention, and various measures of political power and repression, the influence of political factors on punishment needs a fuller explication. Specifically, the use of corporal punishment as a criminal sanction has not been fully examined within the political repression and punishment literature. To address this gap, authors employ a cross-national comparative approach to examine how repressive governments and failing regimes influence the use of corporal punishment by the formal justice system. Findings reveal that more repressive and failing regimes are more likely to use corporal punishment, compared to freer and more sustainable nations. (Published Abstract)