Punishment in the nineteenth century underwent profound changes. At the beginning of the century, capital punishment and transportation both featured predominantly, as threat as much as reality. By 1875 transportation had gone, and the number of capital offences had declined to a minimum. A second change noted by Emsley is a movement from a situation in which all the vital decisions were in the hands of the officers of the courts to one in which the forms of punishment were more and more determined by them in partnership with the experts within the prison service. This change happened partly because of a need to think more positively about the function of custodial sentences once the days of transportation were seen to be numbered. Whereas at the beginning of the period Sir James Stephen spoke of prisons as embracing “mainly a system of licensed revenge”, it now became necessary to think positively about the relationship between punishment and reformation.
KeywordsCorporal Punishment Early Nineteenth Century Great Debate Solitary Confinement Prison Officer
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