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Judicial corporal punishment ("JCP") is the formal application of flogging, caning, birching, whipping, strapping or spanking as an official sentence by order of a court, as laid down for specified offences under the law of the country concerned. Once commonplace in many countries, it has now been abolished in nearly all the Western world, but remains a standard penalty in some Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries. These are mostly either former British colonies (now members of the Commonwealth) such as Malaysiamarker, Singaporemarker and Tanzania, or Muslim countries with a system of Islamic (Sharia) law.

The Singaporean official punishment of caning became much discussed around the world in 1994 when American teenager Michael P. Fay was sentenced to six strokes of the cane for vandalism. Since that time, the number of caning sentences handed down each year in Singapore has doubled.

Other ex-British territories with judicial caning currently on their statute books include Barbadosmarker, Botswanamarker, Bruneimarker, Swazilandmarker, Tongamarker, Trinidad & Tobagomarker, and Zimbabwemarker. It has been abolished in recent decades in Hong Kongmarker, the Isle of Manmarker, Jamaicamarker, Kenyamarker, South Africa, Sri Lankamarker, and Zambiamarker.

In the United Kingdommarker itself, JCP was abolished in 1948. It was removed from the statute book in Canadamarker in 1972, in Indiamarker in the 1950s, in New Zealandmarker in 1941, and in Australia at various times in the 20th century according to State.

Many countries with an Islamic legal system, such as Iranmarker, northern Nigeriamarker, Saudi Arabiamarker, Sudanmarker and Yemenmarker employ judicial whipping or caning for a range of offences. In Indonesia (Acehmarker province only) it has recently been introduced for the first time.

Other countries that were neither British nor Islamic that have used JCP in the more distant past include Chinamarker, Germanymarker, Koreamarker, Swedenmarker and Vietnammarker.In the United Statesmarker it was last used in 1952 in Delawaremarker.

Countries where JCP is used

A list of 32 countries that use lawful, official JCP today is as follows:

  1. (men and women - whip or strap, no target specified; public or private)
  2. (boys only - details unclear)
  3. (men - cat on bare back; boys - cane on bare buttocks; in private)
  4. (boys only - details unclear)
  5. (males aged 14 to 40 - cane on bare buttocks; in private)
  6. (men and boys - cane on bare buttocks; in private)
  7. (boys under 16 - details unclear)
  8. (men and boys - details unclear)
  9. (men and boys - details unclear)
  10. , Aceh State only (men and women - cane on clothed back; in public)
  11. (men, women, boys, girls - whip or strap, no target specified; public or private)
  12. (men and boys - details unclear)
  13. (Criminal law: men and boys - cane on bare buttocks; in private) * (Sharia law, Muslims only: men and women - cane on clothed back; in private)
  14. (men and women - details unclear)
  15. (men, women, boys, girls - cane on clothed buttocks or whip on bare back; in public)
  16. (men and boys - cane or strap on clothed buttocks; public or private)
  17. (men and women - details unclear; in private)
  18. (boys and men - details unclear)
  19. (boys only - cane on bare buttocks)
  20. (men and women - whip or cane over clothes, no target specified; public or private)
  21. (boys only - cane or birch on bare buttocks)
  22. (men and boys - cane on bare buttocks; in private). See Caning in Singapore.
  23. (men and women - cane on clothed buttocks)
  24. (men, women, boys, girls - whip on clothed back)
  25. (boys only - cane on bare buttocks)
  26. (men and boys - cane on bare buttocks; in private)
  27. (men - cat on bare buttocks; boys - birch or cat on bare buttocks)
  28. (men only - cat on bare back or birch on bare buttocks; in private)
  29. (details unclear)
  30. (Muslims only: men - whip on bare back; women - whip on clothed back; public or private)
  31. (details unclear)
  32. (boys only - cane on bare buttocks; in private)

The above list does not include countries where a "blind eye" is sometimes turned to unofficial JCP by local tribes, authorities, etc. including Bangladeshmarker, Boliviamarker, Guatemalamarker, Indiamarker, Russiamarker, and the Palestinian territoriesmarker.


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