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Montana lawmaker offers pain instead of prison

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 HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- A Montana lawmaker says that convicts should be allowed
 to escape prison time if they instead agree to the "infliction of physical pain.”
   Republican Rep. Jerry O'Neil is drafting a bill that would allow those convicted
of misdemeanors or felonies to negotiate corporal punishment instead of another
 sentence. The method used to inflict the pain would be decided by a judge.
   The veteran lawmaker says he thinks long prison sentences are inhumane, and
thinks many prefer something like "20 lashes."
   The conservative Columbia Falls lawmaker made headlines earlier this session
by seeking to get paid in gold and silver coins because he is skeptical about
the future of the dollar.
   His latest proposal isn't receiving a warm welcome. The House speaker's office
noted that O'Neil is bringing the idea alone.
   AP-WF-01-30-13 2007GMT

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