Almost a quarter of a million children in the U.S. were subjected to corporal punishment in public schools between the 2006 to 2007 academic year, according to “Impairing Education,” a report done by Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union in August 2009. Corporal punishment is the deliberate infliction of physical pain such as flogging, slapping and paddling to punish wrongdoing. It can take the form of parental, school or judicial corporal punishment. Though opposition against it is strong, corporal punishment still has some strong advocates.
Compared to alternative methods of retribution such as expulsion, suspension, grounding or community service, corporal punishment has immediate effects. It is a short-term method of punishment that can be quickly administered in the home, school or in prison. For example a student may stop talking and disrupting a class for a while if the teacher spanks him. The teacher can then go back to teaching without taking too much time managing a student’s behavior.
Physical pain and fear is a strong deterrent for the person who receives corporal punishment and for those who witness it. People will associate a certain behavior with a certain consequence such as spanking, paddling or flogging. This encourages you to avoid those behaviors that elicit corporal punishment. Children being physically punished will also feel deterred from engaging in certain behaviors or activities that will attract physical punishment.(see ref 2)
Psychologist Elizabeth Thompson Gershoff of the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University generated a study on the effectiveness of corporal punishment. The study, which was summarized in 2002 in the American Psychological Association website, found a general agreement that this type of punishment is effective in eliciting immediate compliance. The association between corporal punishment and a child’s behavior is that there is increased compliance from the child
Compared to alternative methods of punishment and discipline, corporal punishment can cost less. Most of the times in the case of parental and school corporal punishment, only a ruler, a paddle or a belt are required to retribution. Schools with limited finances and resources use corporal punishment as a more cost-effective method of discipline. In judicial corporal punishment an alternative method would be rehabilitation or community service programs, which can be costly to organize and maintain.