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Punishment on Trial

Introduction
Punishment as a means to change misbehavior of children is a controversial topic, to say the least. Persons advocating the use of punishment and those people who are against the use of punishment have often resorted to claims that may or may not have a basis in scientific evidence. What is even more distressing is that the validity of such claims and theories is rarely questioned or judged. Uttering the words, "We have research that shows," or "We have findings," often is taken to sanctify whatever position is being proposed, without any independent judgment of the validity of the purported research. Therefore the claims made on the basis of such research often go unquestioned.

How controversial is this topic? If you advocate for the use of punishment, your professional and personal reputation is questioned and your expertise is debased. Many people in professional and administrative capacities have had to quickly refute their position on punishment, to avoid severe professional and political consequences. Galileo's dealings with the papacy in the 16th century may seem like small claims court when compared to the wrath of people who stand to judge those who support the use of punishment. Further, what is considered off limits, in both practice and research inquires from the professional police squad, can be a most innocuous consequence for child behavior (to most American parents)...

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CRN would like to thank Prof. Ennio Cipani for permitting this link to his book, "Punishment on Trial " on CRN.

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