Prison corporal punishment

Illustration by Maurice Alhoy (1845).

Prison corporal punishment is the corporal punishment of prison inmates.

Prison corporal punishment is given for different reasons:

  1. As a judicial corporal punishment for the original crime, usually in cases when a person is sentenced to CP plus imprisonment.
  2. As a punishment for breaking prison rules (e.g. disobedience, not following guidelines, backtalking, hiding contraband, attempting escape).
  3. As a so-called 'Welcome' given to every inmate by standard on entering the prison.
  4. As a 'Farewell' to give a prisoner (again) on leaving the prison.

Prison corporal punishment is usually severe, therefore the delinquent is sufficiently restrained in most cases. It is supposed to serve as a deterrent from potential future transgressions for the prisoner, so each method of punishment in use is therefore designed and measured to pose a sufficient threat for any rulebreaker to effectively correct his or her non-tolerated behaviour into a docile and compliant manner of conduct. For that reason a relatively strict form of punishment is often administered even for minor offenses.

The punishment is generally administered by specially trained staff to constantly induce high levels of pain for the inmate, while largely avoiding unwanted injury. During an ongoing punishment it remains fully impossible for the delinquent to halt or abort the procedure before its formal completion. Therefore the prisoner often recurringly has to endure factually unbearable pain sensations over the course of a corporal punishment, where his or her natural reflex to flee the situation at any cost come into play. The inmate will naturally use any reserve of strength to break free from the punishment and will act very impulsively. For this reason strict restraints are typically employed in order to hold the detainee firmly in place with the intent to hinder any unwanted body movements, that could jeopardize the procedure from being followed through in a safe and orderly manner.

Due to the stark imbalance in power typically found in situations of incarceration, there is an imminent risk, that the punishment might be administered excessively by the staff, as the prisoner usually has no remedies available and the officers are sufficiently protected against any form of liability.

It is usually given with a cane, strap (a very heavy version is often called "prison strap"), flogger, or whip on the bare back, the buttocks or the soles of the prisoner's bare feet. In past centuries, prison CP was also often given with a birch.

In consensual spanking, if prison corporal punishment is enacted, it sets up images of a severe beating, not a light spanking by hand. Often the use of a safe-word is ruled out to simulate an actual incarceration setting where the measure of the punishment is determined by the giving person alone while the recipient is actually rendered entirely powerless and dependent as in a typical real-life prison situation.

Women in Prison films often depict various forms of prison punishment in a fictional, usually sensationalized and unrealistic setting. What began as an exploitation subgenre in the 1970s continues to the present day in countless spanking and BDSM fetish films.