History of Crime and Punishment in England and Europe


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History of Crime and Punishment in England and Europe

The period from late 18th century to early 19th century was accompanied by massive changes in perception of Crime in various regions. In England and the Europe at large, the onset of the nineteenth century saw considerable variations in the perception of offenders as new crimes evolved as a result of changing societal trends[1]. As a result, the penal system for these crimes was also subjected to various changes with respect to the revolutionizing society. Quite importantly, the changes in the legal system were also facilitated by the changing political and governance systems. For instance, the increase of bureaucracy and liberalism in Europe resulted into reviewing of some penal codes which were previously considered as inhuman[2]. With reference to Foucault and Ignateiff, there exist close correlation between the systems of ruling and the punishment systems in territories. Considering the various revolutions in terms of governance in the early nineteenth century, it is accurate to describe the early nineteenth changes in penal policy as ‘reform’.

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[21] Jackson Rothman and Noel Morris, eds., The Oxford History of the Prison: the Practice of Punishment in Western Society (New York: OUP, 1995), 97.

[22] Michael Ignatieff, Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry (Oxford: Princeton University Press,    1993), 52.

[23] Titus Sellin, ed. Prisons in Transformation (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1972), 61

[24] Michael Wiener, Reconstructing the Criminal: Culture, Law, and Policy in England, 1830-1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1990), 112

[25] Michael Ignatieff, Just Measure of Pain: the Penitentiary in the Industrial Revolution 1750-1850 (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1989), 134.

[26] Colin Gordon, ‘Governmental rationality: an introduction’, in The Foucault Effect. Studies in Governmentality, edited by Graham Burchill, Colin Gordon and Peter Miller (London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1991), 37.