Jamaica is an island country in the Caribbean. It has a population of about 2.8 million. Its capital and largest city is Kingston. Its official language is English. Formerly a Spanish territory called Santiago, the country became a British colony in 1655 and was named "Jamaica". It achieved full independence from the United Kingdom (UK) in 1962 and is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Crime rates in Jamaica are very high, and the country has one of the highest murder rates in the world for many years, according to United Nations estimates.
Spanking in Jamaica
Judicial corporal punishment
Judicial corporal punishment in Jamaica was inherited from the British system and was used only on males. The most commonly used implement was the tamarind switch, administered to the offender's bare buttocks. The cat o' nine tails was also used sometimes, applied to the offender's unclothed upper back. Judicial corporal punishment was typically used as a punishment for offenses like theft and sexual abuse. Its practice appeared to have declined around 1970 but was revived again in 1994 before being abolished in 1998.
An official report of a United Nations Human Rights Committee hearing in 2000 contains a description of the tamarind switch in use, inflicted on a prisoner who was sentenced to 15 years' jail and ten strokes of the switch in 1994. The prisoner was ordered to remove all clothing from his lower body and was forced to lean forward across a barrel, with his genitals placed into a slot in the barrel (to prevent them from being crushed against the barrel). He was tied up in that position and beaten on the buttocks with a tamarind switch. The description fits the reenacted scene in the 1972 Jamaican crime movie The Harder They Come. (see the stills from the film)
Judicial corporal punishment is now no longer in practice in Jamaica, having been abolished since 1998.
Prison and reformatory corporal punishment
Prison and reformatory corporal punishment were also legal in Jamaica. The cat o' nine tails and tamarind switch were used in prisons, while the cane and tawse were used in reformatories. Official regulations from 1951 stated that boys in reform schools could be punished by hand caning (maximum of three strokes per hand), or caning or strapping on the bottom over clothing (maximum of six strokes, but 12 strokes for a boy over the age of 12). Girls could also receive up to three strokes on each hand, but only up to the age of 14.
Both prison and reformatory corporal punishment are now banned in Jamaica.
School corporal punishment
School corporal punishment is still permitted in Jamaica, as the Education Act states that teachers may administer "reasonable corporal punishment", but they are advised against using it, and are urged to leave corporal punishment to school principals.
Reports suggest that both the cane and the strap are widely used in schools, and is referred to locally as "flogging" or "licks". Its use has also appeared to have declined to a point where some people thought it has been banned, and mistakenly call for it to be reimplemented.
- The Harder They Come (1972), full movie at Veehd.com.