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Approaches to Crime and Punishment and Government Attitude's Impact on Punishment.

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Introduction

Crime and Punishment Approaches to Crime and Punishment and Government Attitude's Impact on Punishment: At the end of the seventeenth century, the most common form of punishment was the death penalty through the Bloody code. This was due to the fact that the majority of lawmakers, rich landowners seeking to protect their assets, were still under the impression that punishments should be as harsh and as public as possible to deter people from wanting to commit crime. According to them, the removal of the worst offenders either by killing or transporting them was only a secondary purpose of punishment. Executions were always carried out in public and each year hundreds of people were hanged. The first reaction of the Government to any new crime which worried them was to add it to the list of crimes punishable by death, or capital crimes, which saw a rapid increase in the late seventeenth century. Punishments such as the stocks, the pillory and whipping were reserved for a wide variety of lesser offences such as vagrancy, drunkenness, debt and other local crimes which were not a threat to the Government or the King. ...read more.

Middle

A network of police forces was set up to prevent and police crime and the judicial system evolved into a proficient way of dealing with individual criminals and their crimes. Sentencing in courts now focused on reform through community service, education in prison and reduced sentences for good behaviour instead of trying to root out crime by eliminating serious offenders through transportation, execution and using it as a deterrent to others. Government attitudes towards crime and the causes of crime have had a direct effect on the changes to punishments. Although the word 'government' is quite a general term for whoever was running the country, it can be defined in three overall types spanning from the early 16th century to present day. During the 16th and 17th century, the country was run as an absolute monarchy, with the monarch ruling through the Devine Right of kings. As the King was supposed to have been God's representative on earth, any scepticism or criticism of their authority would be seen as heresy and even treason. ...read more.

Conclusion

The government was under the impression that the bloodier the punishment, the more it will deter possible offenders. Many new and even petty crimes were added to the bloody code, which carried the sentence of death by execution or torture. As the 20th century got under way, the government had developed into a constitutional monarchy, which gave the parliament the majority of power and effectively made Britain a democracy. The government now saw that it could play a more important and integrated role in the way people lived and could shape society's views. It realised that prison could serve as a way to rehabilitate as well as punish offenders and began to control people's view on racism and sexism, reducing the amount of crimes committed. Prison reform was a sign of this changing role. This more involved role in society eased the government's fear of revolution as it was now partly responsible for the way people lived and times were now stable with a more liberal attitude to religion and freedom of speech and the lack of civil war for about a century. ...read more.

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