7 NOVEMBER 1952, Page 14

Crime and Punishment

Sm,—It is to be hoped that, before authority yields to the demand for corporal punishment for violent crimes, there will be an analysis and report to the public as to the typical background and history of the offenders. Only in the light of such analysis can suitable remedies be prescribed.

In most cases such investigation would reveal bad housing con- ditions, lack of outlets for youthful spirit of initiative and adventure, broken homes, and, in the opinion of some of us, the effect of war- time childhoods, or training for or experience of war service. In short, the anti-social behaviour of such offenders is the result very largely of an anti-social, irresponsible attitude on the part of those born and bred in more favourable circumstances. Instead of the vengeful spirit implicit in the cry for birching let us have an honest assessment of these fundamental factors in the spirit of "There, but for the Grace of cod, go I."—Yours faithfully,