The Era Of The Modern Penitentiary System

1829 Words Nov 7th, 2014 8 Pages
“Early” correctional history is normally put in a pretty large category ranging from 2000 B.C. to 1800 A.D. (Allen, 2010). This period obviously covers a wide range both in time and technological advances along with cultural standards. This period includes ancient Babylonia and Samaria, Rome, Medieval Europe, Renaissance Europe, to the rise of the modern penitentiary system in America. Throughout this large chunk of time there were obviously many different practices that came into being, but two main factors can be singled out as to what changed early corrections into what we know to this day. 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 “corrections”, and it was how crime was handled in ancient history, that is at least until the development of lex talionis after the fall of the Roman Empire in 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…
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