Imagine that you just happened to be late for work or school and you got at least ten whip lashes for it. That's what would have probably happened to you if you were a slave working in a field. Although there were many ways to punish slaves, whipping was the most popular. While going to work in the early morning, slaves were controlled by whip holders. Some slaves could actually be beaten to death. While others, with more reasonable owners, weren't beaten quite as much, as their owners knew that a hurt slave couldn't work as well as a healthy slave. If a slave stole any provisions he could get anywhere from thirty to one-hundred whip lashes.
Another way of punishment was to cut off a certain body part. For striking a white man a hand could be cut off. For eavesdropping an ear could be cut off, and so on.
Manipulation was a common way of control. One way was if the slave had a child it could be sold for bribery. For example the owner might sell the child and tell the parent that if he/she went looking for it, the child could be injured or whipped.
Sometimes slaves would be branded, like livestock. They would be branded if they tried to run away too many times, so that neighboring plantations would know where to return he/she. Most slaves were also prevented from practicing their religion until later on when small slave churches were allowed on the perimeter of the plantation.
Although most slaves were not over punished a lot of slaves had to live with these punishments. Slaves were not treated kindly.