Degrading Punishments

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Degrading Punishments

 

in exploitative states, punishments whose aim is to publicly humiliate and degrade the convicted person. They were first used in ancient slave societies and were common in the feudal period. Convicted persons were led around in a fool’s costume, smeared with tar, had yokes put around their necks, and were placed in pillories. Bourgeois criminal law retained such punishments, primarily for persons persecuted for their political convictions. The French criminal code of 1810 provided for such punishments as the yoke (abolished in 1832) and the pillory (abolished in 1848).

In Russia in 1864 the tsarist government subjected N. G. Chernyshevsky to the public ceremony of “civil execution.” After he was placed in a pillory, a sword was broken over his head and a board with the inscription “state criminal” was hung around his neck. Such punishments were abolished in Russia in 1880. They are still used in some capitalist countries that pursue policies of racial discrimination and apartheid.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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