An American police magistrate in Delaware flogs a criminal, watched by a crowd. Corporal punishment is a form of physical punishment that involves the deliberate infliction of pain in order to punish a person convicted of a crime or as retribution for a perceived offense. Official punishment by the infliction of pain or injury, including flogging, branding, and amputation, was practiced in most civilizations since ancient times. Caning is a form of corporal punishment consisting of a number of hits (known as strokes or cuts) with a single cane usually made of rattan, generally applied to the offender's bare or clothed back or buttocks. Photographed by Bain News Service, circa 1900s.