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Argument Analysis Bringing Back Flogging

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Taylor Keith
Professor Allegre
English 103
17 February, 2013
Cruel and Inhumane Punishment

In his essay, “Bring Back Flogging,” Jeff Jacoby, believes that criminals who commit crimes should be flogged publically instead of being thrown in prison. Jacoby believes that prison has become society’s punishment for almost every offense in the criminal code. He insisted instead of putting people in prison for minor offences, he believes that they should be flogged publically to teach them a lesson. Jacoby believes that this form of punishment was used effectively in the 1600’s by the puritans. I cannot fully accept Jacoby’s thesis because, although he makes valid points about the weaknesses in our prison system, he does not give strong enough arguments about how his plan will solve these problems. Jacoby wrote this essay to prove that the prison system is flawed, and that flogging will be much more successful. His essay is weak because the arguments he uses may be helpful against the current system, but none of them support public flogging. Jacoby does not have any evidence that shows that public flogging will be able to correct the problems that occur after prison sentence. For example, “About every three of every four convicted criminals, are on the streets without meaningful probation or parole supervision” (Jacoby 193). This argument does not support his thesis because his method, flogging, doesn’t have a solution for the lack of supervision after the punishment. After the offender is flogged, they are released free back into the world. Jacoby’s method, therefore, will have the same outcome as the prison system’s method by being punished and set free. Additionally, another weakness Jacoby provides is, “Some 1.6 million Americans are behind bars today. That represents a 250 percent increase since 1980, and the number is climbing” (Jacoby 193). Jacoby doesn’t take into account the newer laws since the 1980’s, making more things illegal. He also doesn’t consider how much the population has significantly risen since then. Jacoby provides strong statistics, but it is not strong evidence for his argument. Even though Jacoby provides weak points in his essay, he also provides some strong points. For example, Even though Jacoby’s statistics don’t correctly support his arguments, he provides strong facts making his essay very persuasive. For example, he provides historical back ground of the argument he is trying to persuade. He mentions how in 1632 Richard Hopkins was branded for selling guns and weapons to Indians, how Joseph Gatchell in 1684 was convicted of blasphemy and got his tongue pierced with a hot iron, and how in 1694 Hannah Newell was whipped because she committed adultery. Flogging was once a real thing and Jacoby provides these details to show that it was once a real thing and that it’s not some new crazy idea. All the statistics and evidence he provides in the essay show that he knows what he is talking about and is very knowledgeable on the issue, which is easier to take his opinion more seriously. In addition, Jacoby’s facts on the fallacies of the prison system persuade the reader to want change in the way we handle criminals. He uses example and statistics to support this claim. For example, he states that, “... A common estimate is $30,000 per inmate per year” (Jacoby 193). He wants people to see this statistic and wants them to be aware of where large amounts of money goes. People would rather have money go to more important things other than criminals. This is a strength that makes people want to take his side. Jacoby provides several strengths to persuade his readers to support public flogging. In conclusion, Jacoby tries to persuade reader that the federal justice system may not appear as strong as people think and that flogging should be the solution for punishing criminal’s evidence and statistics in his essay. However, he does not provide reliable evidence for his argument that flogging should replace prison. Therefore, I cannot agree with Jacoby’s argument that people should be flogged instead of being put in prison.

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