We caught up with Steve Higgins who recently had to visit one.
So, you've been a naughty boy? Er, yeah. I suppose you could say that. I was caught drunk and disorderly in the town centre a few weeks ago.
And what happened? I was arrested and taken to the police. They told me that I could either go to court or could sign up for a caning. Court would cost me a lot of money and time, but the caning would be over pretty quickly and I would just have to pay a £50 fee. It also meant that I would avoid a criminal record although I was told that a file would be kept recording that I had been caned and that if I opted for a caning in the future, I could expect a much tougher penalty.
An interesting choice! Yes, I opted for the caning. I was told I would have to fill in a form and once the police who had arrested me said what I had done, it would go off for assessment and the number of strokes would be decided.
How long did that take? I was told to log into a website a couple of days later. It would then tell me what my punishment would be and where it would happen.
A long wait? No, the next day I got an email telling me to log onto the website. I was on a bus at the time. I was sure everyone was looking at me! It told me that I would get 8 strokes and that this would happen at one of the local schools that weekend. I had to confirm that I had understood.
8 strokes sounds like quite a lot! Did they say why? Yes. 4 - 6 strokes was the standard number for being found drunk and disorderly, but I got additional ones for being rude to the women who had reported me.
So, was this the first time you had been caned? I got the cane a few times at school and from my dad. I really didn't think I'd be getting it again at my age.
Why were you caned? Usual stuff. I was caught in an out of bounds area the first time. Then I got it for being too gobby with teachers and for smoking.
And your dad caned you too? Yeah, I smashed a window with my football. It was our neighbour's greenhouse. My dad was furious. There was a shop in our town which sold canes and he made me pay for one out of my savings!
Did he use it for his runner beans after that? No, this was one of those traditional school type canes with a crooked handle. I think it was used on my brother a few times.
So, fast forward a few years. Here you are getting the cane again! What happened when you got to the Centre? There were quite a few other guys there all for the same reason. Once we had showed our ID to the reception area, we were told to go to a changing room.
Did you talk about how many strokes you were all getting? Yes, there was some talk about that. My 8 seemed to be slightly above average. A few were only getting 4, but one guy said he was getting 12.
What happened when you got there? I was then told to strip down to my underpants, leaving my clothes. I then joined a line of other men.
How many other guys were there? There must have been about 20. I didn't really count though.
All your age? I guess. From about 18 to early 30s I would say.
All in your underpants? Yes, we were all in our underpants at that stage. We were told to stand in line with our hands by our sides,
Were you called in one by one? Yes.
What was the atmosphere like while you were waiting? Nervous? Yes, it was very scary. Everyone was very quiet, just focusing on their own thoughts. It was a bit like being back at school waiting to be called into the headmaster's room for a caning! When I got to the front of the queue, I was told to remove my underpants and put my hands on my head. I was then by the door, knowing my turn would be next.
Wow! Naked! Is that how you had been caned in the past? No. At school it was over trousers and the time I got it at home, it was over my tracksuit bottoms. They didn't protect me much.
How long were you waiting then before you were called in? Well, it seemed like an eternity but was probably only a couple of minutes while the guy who in front of me got his caning. The door then opened and I was told to go in.
What was the room like? A typical large school gymnasium. Wooden floors, high windows. I immediately saw the caning frame in the middle of the room. There were quite a few guards standing near it.
There was a frame? Yes. It was like the kind of trestle you use for decorating tables. It had strong leather straps attached to it at the bottom of each leg for our ankles and wrists. When my name was called out, I was told to walk up to the trestle and put my feet outside it. My ankles were then secured in place by two guards. They were very quick. I was secured in before I had time to think about it. My legs were stretched out quite wide. I was then told to bend over the frame so that my head was upside down and I could pretty much see through my legs. My wrists were tied just as quickly by another set of straps. I really could not move at all then.
Was that it? A final strap was tied over my lower back, making it impossible to move.
It was then that I saw the officer holding the cane standing a few feet behind me.
What did it look like? It looked much longer than I remember the ones at school. It was hard to tell though. I really was quite scared then. I knew I was powerless to stop what was about to happen.
What were the straps like? Very tight. I could not move at all. The straps were like belts with holes in them. It really wasn't possible to move and I did notice that the trestle was screwed into the floor.
Suddenly a voice shouted : "First stroke!"
What was that like? It really took my breath away. It reminded me immediately of the pain of getting the cane when I was younger. It seemed much worse. I didn't have much time to think about it though as the next stroke soon came. He was taking a bit of a run up.
You counted each stroke? To be honest it's all a bit of blur. I just remember this incredible pain. The real effect of a caning is after the first few strokes. Your backside is so sore by then that the later strokes hurt even more. It really brought back all the memories of being caned when I was a lad. The intense burning sensation is what is the worst. After a while though it almost feels numb as the incredible pain takes over. But I was completely unable to move. The straps ensured that I could not move at all.
What happened after it was over? I was taken back to the changing room and told to put my clothes back on. After some more forms, I was allowed to go home.
Sore? Yes. When I got home I just laid on my stomach for a few hours to get over the pain.
Lesson learned? Yes. I paid the price for my behaviour. I was very rude to the women who reported me which is why I got that many strokes. I shall definitely be more respectful next time.
And drink less? Oh yes! Definitely
How did you feel about all the details being published on the website for anyone to see? I heard they were thinking about this. At first I was really embarrassed. I still am. But I understand that it will act as a deterrent for any men who might be tempted to break the law or behave in a manner which is unacceptable.
Shortly after we interviewed Steve, we discovered that his younger brother Nick received 6 strokes of the cane at the same Discipline Centre also for being found drunk and disorderly. Oh well! Boys will be boys!