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Rep. Jerry O'Neil Proposes "Corporal Punishment" for Offenders

A lawmaker in Montana is attempting to pass a law that gives criminals the option of choosing "corporal punishment in lieu of incarceration." 

Rep. Jerry O'Neil, a Republican, said the legislation would apply for misdemeanor crimes and some felonies. 

It states: "for purposes of this section, 'corporal punishment' means the infliction of physical pain on a defendant to carry out the sentence negotiated between the judge and the defendant." 

The nature and level of pain will equal the "severity, nature, and degree of the harm caused by the offender."

Punishment will be carried out by local sheriffs if the offender choses to avoid jail time. 

The actual method of inflicting pain has not been discussed. 

Despite attempting to "tamp down" any bills that Democrats might use to embarrass the GOP, O'Neil is sticking with this legislation.

John S. Adams of the Great Falls Tribune wrote on his blog, "Republican leadership has been doing its best to tamp down any potential bills the other side might use to embarrass the GOP as they work to craft a budget. This one apparently didn't get tamped."

The lawmaker has a history of public controversy. 

O'Neil previously demanded that the state pay his salary in silver and gold because he misread a portion of the U.S. Constitution that forbids states from making their own paper currency. 



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