Criminal Justice History Essay

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Throughout the 19th century, the criminal justice system in America and beyond began to evolve into a structure that more closely resembles the institution today. Prior to this period the criminal justice system was composed of laws based on moral commandments, social precedents and arbitrary punishments. The reform movement of the 1800s brought new outlooks on criminal acts and launched new methods of punishment that humanized and rationalized the criminal justice system. The ancient criminal justice system existed as codes of law that were written copies of moral and social precedents carved into stone or clay tablets and displayed in public areas. In 1750 B.C. the Babylonian king Hammurabi had his code of law and means of punishment …show more content…
A major contributor to the use of physical punishment was the notion of honor that existed in many cultures. In the middle ages of Europe, men carried weapons that were used as tools in daily life. Knives served a dual purpose as a utensil to eat and a means of defending one’s honor. Honor was also tarnished by the use of shaming as a form of reprimanding in the middle ages of Europe and the Colonial Era. Devices like “the pillory” immobilized criminals by locking in their hands and head into an apparatus in a public place where spectators could chastise the captives. Many of the forms of punishment did not consider prevention or rehabilitations as resources to combat criminal behavior. The use of branding shows the doubts in rehabilitation. By branding the individual with a “T” for thief, they were declared a criminal for life. The filthy, disease ridden jails were not used in rehabilitation but as houses of holding to keep the alleged criminals. Often prisoners were under feed expected to pay for their stay and amenities. Although the prisons were easily escaped, the length of detention for those who stayed was determined by how long it took for the circuit courts to arrive in town. Circuit courts consisted of lawyers who did not attend law school but read and memorized Blackstone by

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