Several studies have been carried out to understand the contemporary system of crime and punishment. However, its full understanding calls for a look into the current social problems and the various strategies that can help deal with them.
Crime and punishment have been seen as a way of getting justice from the colonial times to the present-21stcentury. It should be understood by the system of justice and the subsequent effects of legal undertakings. Let’s delve into this crime and punishment debate and have a look at how the contemporary world has shaped our systems of law and justice.
Trials were done or watched over by community elders such as kings, lords or priests. In the 12th century, determining whether an individual was innocent or guilty was conducted in several ways intended to scare the victim and trigger them to speak the truth. Two trials were common in this error known as trial by fire and trial by water. With the case of fire, the suspect was made for walking across hot burning coal.
As though this was not enough, the individual was demanded to carrying along a hot piece of metal too. After about three to four days, a priest would show up to asses the wounds of the suspect. Healing would suggest God’s favour and person would be declared innocent, failure to which the individual was said to be guilty.
Trial by water consisted of either hot or cold water. The victim was to draw a stone from the bowel of boiling water; the priest would then assess the consistency of the injuries caused to determine the innocence of the suspect. With cold water, the suspect’s hands and feet were bound then thrown into the river. If the person could manage to float, then he was considered innocent.
When Pope Innocent III started watching over the holly community, he restricted priest from engaging in trials of these nature. Claiming that they were not only brutal and inhuman but also illogical. This eventually led to the end of this error off trials
Several punishments were available for different crimes. Depending on the type of offence, people were sentenced differently, for example, petty crimes such as bakers selling underweight loaves were fined in some ways including wearing of placards forcefully around the nake.
Robbery and murder were considered serious offences, particularly in the 18th century. However, there almost three hundred crimes which were considered capital. Capital offenders were subjected to severe punishment not less than death. Death was carried out through several means including beheading, hanging, and burning while still alive. Surprisingly, decapitation was considered kind to the criminal because it was instant.
Hanging was the fate of notorious criminals and was done in the presence of everyone but ended in the year 1868 where victims were then hanged within prisons. Burning was mostly subjected to criminal women, who either practised witchcraft or even murdered their husbands for whatever the reasons.
Today a lot of policy recommendations have been made to various governments, civil right groups, courts of law and other police agencies to foster and prevent crimes. This has been a significant pillar in the creation and evolution of modern police forces all over the world. Although justice must be served, it must be served in the right proportion.
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