By Mitchel P. Roth

ISBN-10: 1780233590

ISBN-13: 9781780233598

From “an eye for an eye” to debates over capital punishment, humanity has an extended and debatable dating with dispensing justice for legal acts. this day, crime and punishment stay major components of our tradition, yet societies range tremendously on what's thought of felony and the way it may be punished. during this international survey of crime and punishment all through heritage, Mitchel P. Roth examines how and why we penalize convinced actions, and he scrutinizes the effectiveness of such efforts in either punishing wrongdoers and bringing a feeling of justice to victims.

Drawing on anthropology, archaeology, folklore, and literature, Roth chronicles the worldwide historical past of crime and punishment—from early civilizations to the outlawing of intercourse crimes and serial murder to the advance of prepared crime and the possibility this day of world piracy. He explores the delivery of the reformatory and the perform of incarceration in addition to the fashionable philosophy of rehabilitation, arguing that those are maybe an important advances within the attempt to defend electorate from damage. taking a look heavily on the retributions societies have condoned, Roth additionally examine execution and its many kinds, displaying how stoning, hemlock, the firing squad, and deadly injection are thought of both barbaric or justified throughout various cultures. finally, he illustrates that regardless of advances in each point of human event, there's notable continuity in what's thought of a criminal offense and the sanctions administered.

Perfect for college students, teachers, and basic readers alike, this interdisciplinary ebook presents a desirable examine illegal activity and its results.

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Additional resources for An Eye for an Eye: A Global History of Crime and Punishment

Example text

Although the Mosaic Law does not stand in the forefront of the world’s great legal systems, its Decalogue, better known as the Ten Commandments, is probably history’s best-known list of behavioural prohibitions; but the difference is that the Commandments do not include specific punishments for each offence, and therefore should not be mistaken for a legal code. Hebrew law utilized sympathetic punishment (punishment the same as the victim’s). No adage is more prominent in the annals of crime and punishment as ‘an eye for an eye, a life for a life’.

It was up to the village assembly to either sentence the actual murderer to death, or another member of the household in their place. On the other hand, the assembly might allow the killer’s household to pay the victim’s household compensation. But, when it came to issuing a death sentence it was determined in terms of what was in the best interests of the village. 25 In turn, the killer contributed land and children to the family of the bereaved. Similar to the Hebrews, some African villages commute death sentences in lieu of a fine of cattle or providing the victim’s household with a human being physically comparable to the victim, or with a woman capable of bearing a child for the victim’s family.

Five hundred years later, Sir Thomas More had his sentence for treason commuted to simple beheading, instead of being hanged until ‘half dead’, then cut down alive, having his ‘privy parts cut off, his belly ripped, his bowels burnt, his four quarters set up over four gates of the City, and his head upon London Bridge’. In the biblical era, death by burning was the penalty for nine categories of incest and one of adultery. Burning, more significantly, was probably used for such moral offences due to the symbolic purification aspect of the sanction.

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An Eye for an Eye: A Global History of Crime and Punishment by Mitchel P. Roth


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