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Corporal Punishment - Conclusion

penal rehabilitative century foucault

Repudiation of the infliction of pain as a penal method and the substitution of corrective incarceration for physical punishment have been conspicuous features of penal history since the late eighteenth century. Corporal punishment has come to be seen as incompatible with "modern" penal methods and as likely to militate against the success of reformative or rehabilitative treatment. The decline of corporal punishment was once hailed as a sign of the progress of humanitarianism, enlightenment, and civilization. In the latter part of the twentieth century, however, such optimism has been questioned by certain writers, notably Michel Foucault, who have argued that the rehabilitation theory and the creation of "noncorporal" penal systems generally meant only the insidious expansion and refinement of penal repression. However, Foucault and most other critics of the rehabilitative ideal have not expressed approval of earlier penal practices, nor have they recommended that corporal punishment be revived as a penal method.

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