Infliction of physical pain upon a person's body as punishment for a crime or infraction.
Such penalties include beating, branding, mutilation, blinding, and the use of the stock and pillory. The term also denotes the physical disciplining of children in the schools and at home. From ancient times through the 18th century, corporal punishment was commonly used in instances that did not call for capital punishment , ostracism, or exile. But the growth of humanitarian ideals during the Enlightenment and afterward led to its gradual abandonment, and today it has been almost entirely replaced in the West by imprisonment or other nonviolent penalties. Several international conventions on human rights prohibit it. Beatings and other corporeal punishments continue to be administered in the prison systems of many countries. Whipping and even amputation remain prescribed punishments in some Middle Eastern and Asian societies. Corporal punishment of schoolchildren is still sanctioned in many states.