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Submitted By dchcabrera03
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Punishment in America
America has a unique justice system, like no other in the world. During the creation of the American colonies and the building of a nation, America took ideas of justice from their British heritage. Corporal punishment was the idea of dealing with criminal issues. America has since changed its view on punishment, early responses where considered brutal and today the view is more for rehabilitation of the offender.
If a law is broken or a crime committed, the offender should be punished. The question that has lingered for many centuries is how harsh the punishment should be. The early Americans relied on public shaming for punishment. The intent was to teach a lesson to the offender and education would likely prevent recurring criminal activity. Some of the common practices for punishment were public whippings at the towns whipping post, brandings such as an A on the forehead for adulteries, cutting off ears, tongues, or fingers for liars and thieves, and placing offenders on the pillory or a stock for the townspeople to throw rotten vegetables or rocks at. For more severe crimes such as murder or rape, criminals were punished with execution by public hanging. Imprisonment was not as common. Early responses to crime seem to be extremely brutal, but the idea was to give a punishment as closely as possible to the crime. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the English would also send criminals to the new American colonies to remove them from English society. This practice was called transportation. Historical punishments were considered both painful and shameful. It wasn’t until the lathe nineteenth century that Americans started shifting their focus to imprisonment. Rather than capital punishment for criminals, prisons would now help rehabilitate offenders through skilled labor and education.
Common jails have been around for...

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