England is the lower territory on the Isle of Great Britain, founder of the United Kingdom which is made up of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Over 83% of the population of the UK lives in England.
Punishment in England
Spanking is a stereotypically English punishment. Erotic spanking was known as "le vice Anglais" ("the English Vice") in Victorian-era France as that is a belief prevalent across the world. Today the phrase An English Spanker conjures up a very uniform mental image inside the spanking scene.
Smacking is the common word for spanking in the UK when referring to the punishment of children. In fact, spanking is very uncommon is use outside of the spanking scene and refers almost exclusively to consensual or erotic punishments between adults in the modern language; almost no parents would use that word to refer to the punishment of children.
The study Exploring English Character by Geoffrey Gorer (1955) contains a detailed statistical analysis of English parent's views on how to punish children appropriately.
Corporal punishment in schools has been illegal in England (and all of the UK) for some years. The English laws were recently tightened in an attempt by parent groups to ban smacking outright. However, unlike the government of their Scottish neighbours, the governments of England, Northern Ireland and Wales chose to not to ban the smacking of children completely and adopted a new act of laws known as "reasonable chastisment". Parents may smack their child on the forearms or on the upper legs, but not the bottom. They also may not cause bruises or redness or they are breaking the law.
It is currently unclear what penalties exist and no cases or prosecutions have ever been brought against parents for punishing their children, this government act is totally separate from the Child abuse act.
State schools in England were rife with the use of straps and frequently, the cane. There was no universal convention across England and there could be a great disparity even on schools within the same district. Some schools permitted punishment in the classroom to be administered by the teacher, others only permitted the head-teacher to administer punishments. In some schools, for less-serious crimes the seat of the trousers was beaten with the slipper.
At present, heavy criticism is heaped upon the former use of corporal punishment in schools, teachers made no allowances for mental health or medical problems such as dyslexia and many contemporary adults feel they were repeatedly punished unfairly.
- Public Schools
Caning and birching were common punishments in English schools, particularly in "public schools" (a misnomber, the term 'public' referes to the fact that they are not run by the government and in the U.S. they would be called "private schools") which are boarding schools with significant social distinction.
Public schools which charged fee's typically had higher levels of academic excellence in teaching, taught pupils that came from a higher class in UK society and as a resultant also had higher standards of discipline and administered more severe punishments. Public schools retained the usage of corporal punishment for many years after it was outlawed by the parliament in state schools.
Hogwarts of Harry Potter is a good example of an idealised Public School as it appears in national conscience, it may not be an accurate historical representation in terms of structure but it is intended to emulate the perception of the 'golden age' of private education.
There are many stories and novels set in public schools which contain spankings or references, Jennings by author Anthony Buckeridge is one.
The Law and Judicial Use
Police and other law enforcement were known to use corporal punishment on youths until the early 20th century. Although it was often ordered by courts there were some cases where punishments of youths and minors caught 'red handed' was not authorised either by the judiciary or by parents, but as spanking and such punishments from authority figures was ingrained into the national psyche there were few complaints.
English prisons in the 19th century also used caning and birching amongst their punishments, guards also had access to a number of punitive manual punishments such as the screw where prisoners were required to turn a large crank handle (resembling the starter motor of a vintage car) set into a mechanical device for a set number of turns - often in the thousands - recorded on a dial and would not be permitted rest or food until the exhausting punishment was completed. Prison guards in the UK are now traditionally nicknamed 'screws', a name which derives both from the device and for the guards sadistic love of screwing the gear-wheel tighter during the punishment, increasing the resistance the prisoner had to overcome.
All forms of punishment for Prisoners in England and Britain as a whole were outlawed long ago, followed by the death penalty. European Laws on cruel and unusual punishments prevent any such punishments being reinstated by member states.
- More information on this topic is available at [ Wikipedia:England ]