Early Correctional History : The Rise Of The Modern Penitentiary System

1409 Words Nov 7th, 2014 6 Pages
Early correctional history is normally put in a large category from 2000 B.C. to 1800 A.D. (Allen, 2010). This period obviously covers a lot of ground both in time and technological advances along with cultural standards. This period ranges from ancient Babylonia and Samaria, Rome, Medieval Europe, Renaissance Europe, to the rise of the modern penitentiary system in America. Throughout this time, there were many different practices and philosophies, but one or two underlying factors might be noted about the progression of early corrections.

First of all, there was a change from vigilante justice (lex salica) to governmental regulation (lex talionis). Lex salica is where a victim of wrongdoing (or their family) carry out revenge or retaliation under the assumption that an offender has to pay for their crime. For example, crime was viewed as a private matter in Ancient Greece and Rome. Even offenses such as murder, justice relied on the victim 's family with the threat of private war or vendetta the means of protection against further slights. This idea that there must be some "final" justice is the earliest form of justice, and it characterized ancient times, at least up until the development of lex talionis after the fall of the Roman Empire (476 AD). Lex talionis means "an eye for an eye or tooth for a tooth" but it technically refers to the switchover in time when governments (not families or private individuals) got into the vengeance business. Obviously, a government…
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