History of Punishment Essays

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Class Notes for CJ 352_Spring 2011 History
Instructor: Marcos L. Misis (ABD)
Early History of Corrections
• Codified punishment for offenders was developed in the early ages of human history.
• One of the earliest known written codes that specified different types of offenses and punishments was the Code of Hammurabi in 1750 B.C. The
Code of Hammurabi was divided into sections to cover different types of offenses and contained descriptions of the punishments to be imposed to offenders. • The Draconian Code was developed in classical Greece in the seventh century B.C.E. This code described legal procedures and punishments for offenders, such as stoning to death or public
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In addition, Beccaria (1764) believed that laws should be written and judicial discretion should be limited. Class Notes for CJ 352_Spring 2011 History
Instructor: Marcos L. Misis (ABD)
• Jeremy Bentham was one of the leading reformers for British criminal law.
Bentham advocated for a system of graduated punishments to make a system were punishment and crime were equal.
• Based on his idea that humans are hedonistic, the goal of humans is to maximize pleasure while minimizing pain, Bentham believed that punishments were the best deterrent for crime.
• Bentham was not in favor of the death penalty but did like the idea of incarceration and public humiliation.
• John Howard is known as one of the main proponents of prison reforms on the history of penology. Howard traveled extensively all over Europe to examine jails and prisons.
• In 1777, he reported his findings and his suggested reforms in his State of
Prisons. Howard (1777) advocated for secure and sanitary facilities, inspection and a reformatory regime.
Corrections in the American Colonies
• As America was a British colony, colonists lived under the British laws. At this time, punishments were brutal and relied heavily on corporal punishment and death as incarceration was not an extended practice
• In 1682, Pennsylvania adopted “The Great Law” promulgated by English

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