A caning trestle is a special type of furniture used for judicial and prison corporal punishment (in the form of caning) in Singapore and Brunei. This trestle is different from the A-shaped frame used for judicial canings in Malaysia.
The prisoner is ordered to strip completely naked and has some special protective padding tied around his lower back to protect the vulnerable kidney and lower spine area from strokes that land off-target. He is then restrained in the trestle in a bent-over position at an angle of close to 90° at the hip, and will receive strokes from a long and thick rattan cane on the bare buttocks.
The caning trestle is based on the British dual-purpose prison flogging frame, which can be used to restrain prisoners in either a standing upright (for flogging with the cat o' nine tails on the back) or bent-over position (for caning, birching or strapping on the buttocks).
A Singaporean anti-crime government video, Prison Me No Way, shows the caning trestle in detail. It appears to be made of wood and is painted blue. From the front and back views, it looks like two H-shaped wooden pieces joined together at the top, and their bases are about three feet apart from each other. From the side, it looks like an A, but without the horizontal bar in the middle. The base of the trestle is also made by joining four pieces of wood to form a rectangle. The prisoner stands bare-footed on this wooden base.
There are two horizontal crossbars on the side of the trestle where the prisoner is facing. The upper one can be adjusted according to the prisoner's height, so that it is at about the same level as the prisoner's hips. It is also padded to provide comfort for the prisoner's abdomen when he bends over this crossbar. The lower bar has two short metal chains bolted to it, each attached to a restraining ankle cuff. The cuffs are made of black leather, with chrome fittings, and are about two inches wide with smaller tightening straps.
On the opposite side of the trestle, there are also two crossbars. The upper one is higher up to provide stability for the trestle, while the lower one is slightly lower than the adjustable crossbar on the prisoner's side (so that the prisoner bends over more to achieve the almost 90° angle at the hip). The lower crossbar has a pair of wrist cuffs attached to it by short metal chains, similar to the ankle cuffs. The prisoner can hold on to this bar when his wrists are restrained by the cuffs.
- Corpun: Judicial Caning in Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei on World Corporal Punishment Research
- A short excerpt of a staged reconstruction of a judicial caning from a Singaporean government video Prison Me No Way. This page includes some stills showing the caning trestle in detail.
- Computer-generated visualisation of the successive stages of a judicial caning in Singapore.