History- Crime and Punishment

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Roman Britain

An unequal society- Hierarchial (wealthy at the top, slaves at the bottom), patriarchal (males were head of families) and there was a clear line between those in poverty and wealthy people

The emperor was the head of all laws, the 12 tables were used in each town to display the laws and children had to learn them off by heart. 

Trials-Victims were expected to catch the criminals themselves in order to bring them to court. The defendant was innocent until proven guilty and evidence was presented at court.

Crimes- Most common was theft, crimes against the person was rare, as were crimes against authority; these received the harshest punishments

Punishments- these were unequal and were based on your class and sex. Slaves received crucifixion is they rebelled. Nobles could escape execution is they chose to be exiled. Punishment was used to deter citizens and visitors.

Legionnaires were used to patrol the streets and deal with riots and disorder. There was no established police force.

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Anglo Saxons

King was in charge and society was based on community and religion. Church had an impact of decisions. the king had the responsibility of the kings peace. Laws were unwritten.

Tithings ( a responsible for each other) and Hue and cry were used to catch criminals, these involved members of the community. 

Trials- no lawyers, jury was made up of free men who know the accused, their experiences could influence the decision. Royal courts for serious crimes, shire, hundred and private courts. Church used trial by ordeal if a decision was not made. They believed in repentance and god has the final say.

Crimes- Theft still common. church influenced crime. Violent crime still rare.

Punishment- death penalty used less as church believed in repentance. Werguild was a form of compensation for murder or bodily harm. Families avenged deaths with blood feuds, which could carry on for years.

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Norman age

Kings and church roles increased. Rebellion became common because of Williams forced power, this meant punishments were harsher.

Tithings and hue and cry still used to help catch criminals. Sheriffs introduced. Criminals could claim the right of sanctuary as they could not be arrested there if they confessed they could leave the country.

Trials- trial by ordeal continued and trial by combat was introduced, still heavily based on religion.

Crimes- crimes against church introduced such as adultery. Williams forest laws make hunting and deforestation a crime, he wanted the land for himself. These crimes received harsh punishments.

Punishments- compensation used less and the death penalty was used to deter people and stop rebellion. People could claim 'benefit of the clergy', they would escape execution if they could recite a bible passage. 

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Later Middle Ages 1100-1450

The power of the king and church continued. Henery II introduced the 1164Constititutons of Clarendon , a system of law similar to today's. Justices of the peace were also introduced.

Sheriff and posses were used to catch criminals as there was still no police force. Coroners dealt with suspicious deaths. Royal writs were sent to all sheriffs. 

Trials- trial by ordeal banned in 1215, jury was commonly used. Travelling judges moved around the country hearing cases. Kings court dealt with the most serious cases.

Crimes- Heresy a crime as people rebelled against the church. Poverty increased crime and forest laws continued. King Henry II tried to diminish the power of the church but was unsuccessful. Church courts could execute and torture people.

Punishments- more harsh but hanging was used less due to church. People got fines and sometimes pardons. 

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Tudor/stuart Period

Religion changed during this period as the church of England started. Henry VIII set this up as the catholic church did not grant his wishes. New crimes also started.

There was still no established police force.  Witchunters were used as witchcraft became a crime.

Trials- juries were used more often and trial by ordeal was against the law.

crimes- New crimes included vagrancy and begging, these increased due to unemployment. They were feared and seen as a threat. There was an act that punished them in 1494. Witchcraft also became a crime as people were more insecure and old women were blamed for unusual happenings. 

Punishments- increased in harshness and were used to deter people. Mary I burnt protestants at the steak for hersey as she was a strong catholic.

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Early Modern Period 1450-1750

Population and business increased during this era, this meant new crimes such as poaching and smuggling. This was also the time of the bloody code. The invention of printing reported crime.

Watchmen or charlie's patrolled streets, constables arrested petty criminals.

Trials- JoPs heard local cases and more serious cases were heard by juries and JoPs. Royal judges could pass death sentences.

Crime- social crimes such as smuggling and poaching increased as a tax on products increased and land owners wanted to protect their land. Poaching was seen as necessary as people were poor and it was a tradition. Smuggling was hard to deal with because of how wide spread it was (Hawkhurst gang).

Highway robbery was also common as more people were travelling and trading, and there were cheaper horses and more roads. Dick Turpin was a famous highwayman. This crime decreased as there was better law enforcement and increased coaches so it was harder to hold them up.

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Early Modern Period 1450-1750 cont.

Punishments- known as the bloody code as the amount of crimes that were punishable by death increased however executions decreased in the 18th century as juries felt guilty. The bloody code was to deter people from crimes. Transportation also started and the first prisons know as houses of correction were set up. 

Guy Fawkes- hung, drawn and quartered as he attempted to commit treason. Punishment to deter other and prevent revolution.

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Industrial age 1750-1900

Industrialisation increased poverty as people lost their jobs. More people also moved to the city, increasing population and it was difficult to keep track of people. This meant that crime rates rose.

Watchmen were still used. Bow street runners involved men being paid to catch criminals and increase the number trialled. they also patrolled. The metropolitan police (1829) were well paid and caught criminals. They eventually starting solving crime. Were unpopular as first but soon gained trust.

Trials- government tried to deal with revolution, prisoners could be kept without trial and the government banned secret meetings.

Crimes- More people were in poverty and there was increased inequality leading increased crime i.e prostitution and theft. Smuggling continued until 1850.

Punishments- Transportation to Austraila was used as it was free labour. This ended as people were seeing it as a new life and it wasn't needed. Prison use increased as they aimed at reforming criminals, but most were very harsh places. 

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Industrial age 1750-1900 cont.

Prison reformers-

Elizabeth fry- A quaker. She wanted equality for inmates and separation. She set up education for women and children and religious help. She set up female wardens and she wanted prisoners to be treat with respect. She believed in reformation.
Robert Peel- The Gaols act paid gaolers and provided work for prisoners. Women gaolers and doctor visits were introduced. In 1830 more work and separate cells were introduced. By 1877 90 more prisons were built.
john Howard- Toured Europe. He wanted work, religion and visits by doctors in prisons. He wanted them to be more cleans and for the guards to be paid. Prisons ignored his suggestions but they went on to help the Gaol Act.

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Modern age 1900-present

The advancement of technology and the diversity of society has contributed new crimes. Punishments focus on reformation and laws are more community influenced.

Motorised transport means police can travel faster, DNA technology can help solve crimes. The police force is more equal and some officers are armed. The community can help by the neighbourhood watch scheme and Crimewatch.

Trials- Laws are made by the government, but the public can influence them and put pressure on the government. Trials are fair, with a jury and evidence.

Crimes- technology such as cars have introduced new crimes (car theft, speeding) as well as computers (hacking,copyright). Older crimes are more modern, i.e smuggling involves drugs, people trafficking, and fraud continues. terrorism is an increasing problem as police cannot deal with suicide bombers and terrorist attacks scare the public. Increased weapons.

Punishments- Capital punishment was abolished in 1999. Reformation is considered more important as prisons are used, and are fairer. Probation officers are also used. Other methods of punishment include ASBOs, tagging and community service.

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Modern age 1900-present cont

Derek Bently- Hanged for murdering a policeman, however, he didn't fire the gun and had the mental age of a 5-year-old. The controversial case which sparked protests.

Timothy Evans- Hanged for murdering wife and baby. Later he was proven innocent and received a pardon however he had already been killed.

Ruth Ellis- Hanged for murdering her boyfriend after years of abuse. The was also a controversial case.

Conscientious objection- Men were required to fight in both world wars (conscription). It was required in 1916, and 1939 (1941 for women). In WW1 16000 objected to fighting. Alternativists would do something else but absolutists refused to help the war at all. Trials were unfair and they were seen as cowards and traitors. Absolutists were imprisoned and 10 dies in prison and 63 after. In WW2 there was less discrimination because of previous horrors, they were still seen as cowards, however. Tribunals were fairer and 59000 people objected. Not many were sent to prisons but still found it hard to find jobs etc. 

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