Interview with a
Reform School Guard


Q. You were explaining that this is one of the few reformatories where corporal punishment is still used. Do you believe in it?

A. You mean believe in spanking? Sure. I think it is the best way.

Q. Have you seen many boys punished like that?

A. Yeah, I've worked here over three years. I guess I've seen a couple of hundred.

Q. What age group does this apply to?

A. All ages. From 12 up. Most of them are about 15 to 18, a few are 19 and 20. They all get it. Age doesn't exempt a boy from punishment.

Q. Some of these inmates must be old enough to be in the penitentiary.

A. That's right. Some of these 20 year olds could just as easily have been sent to the pen. But, you see, once they are committed to the reformatory they are considered children in the eyes of the law.

Q. And they all get the same kind of punishment?

A. Sure. If anything, we are stricter with the big ones. You are naturally a lot gentler with the little kids. Most of these hoodlums need to have their butts heated up from time to time. The big ones are just as impressed with the strap as the little kids. They all get it.

Q. Is the strap the only instrument you use?

A. Yeah. Well, you see, the way we use the word here, a spanking means with the strap. We give paddlings too, but that's not very interesting.

Q. Why?

A. The strap's a lot rougher. You know, more severe than the paddle. It embarrasses the kid more than just a little paddling, where the kid has to bend over and take it through his pants. You take your typical hard head, you know, the cocky type, the hoodlum element. Well, I wouldn't waste my time paddling one of those jokers. He would just brush it off. But a real spanking--a spanking with the strap--will get right through to him.

Q. How do you feel about watching a boy being punished?

A. Oh, I don't mind. It's interesting to watch sometimes. I guess anyone would find it interesting, whether he would admit it or not. A real spanking is worth watching.

Q. How is a spanking carried out?

A. We take the inmate to our staff locker room. There is a special table, a spanking table, that we put him on. These clowns really hate it when we lay hands on them and put them over the spanking table. The inmate is fastened down so he can't move his arms or legs.

Q. Is the inmate stripped?

A. No. He waits with his clothes on. When we get him to the table we hold his hands and take down his pants and lower his drawers. Any boy hates to have his drawers taken down against his will. Then we lift him up on the table with a big cushion under his middle to elevate his butt and he gets fastened down hand and foot. It positions him with his bare butt uppermost. It gives a nice, convenient target for the strap.

Q. What is the actual spanking like?

A. You see the inmate struggle and try to jump around. He tries to protect his butt, but he can't move very much. His butt is nude and you see it react to the sting of the strap. You hear him holler and watch his butt slowly get red and raw.

Q. Do they all make noise.

A. Oh yeah. Some of them hold out for three or four licks, but they all "sing" eventually. They scream for help and beg to be released while they're being spanked.

Q. How many strokes are given?

A. It varies. Minimum of five, maximum of about 25 on the oldest or toughest. If the kid is being stubborn, you put a little more muscle behind it and let the strap cut right into his butt, until he breaks down. It leaves welts and after a few hours the skin turns sort of purplish.