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Historical Perspective: Justice Policy-The Death Penalty
Patrice Green
Dr. Humphress
Politics, Policy, and Ethics in the Public Sector
April 26, 2013

The first confirmation of the death penalty laws date as far back as the Eighteenth Century in Babylon. Death penalty, legal infliction of death as a penalty for violating criminal law. The death penalty was codified for 25 different crimes. Such things carried out the death sentence as crucifixion, drowning, beating to death, burning alive, and impalement (Randa, 1997). The practice of the death penalty is as old as the government itself. The death penalty has not been considered controversial for most of history. Since ancient times most governments have punished a wide variety of crimes by death and have conducted executions as a routine part of the administration of criminal law. The Age of Enlightenment was the first significant movement to abolish the death penalty. Britain was very influential in America’s use of the death penalty. The European settlers that came to the new world are the one’s that brought the practice of capital punishment, death penalty. The first execution was recorded in the Jamestown Colony of Virginia in 1608. The Divine, Moral, and Martial Laws were enacted in 1612 by the Governor of Virginia, Sir Thomas Dale. The death penalty was established for minor offenses such as killing chickens, stealing grapes, and trading with Indians. It was Cesare Beccaria’s 1767 essay, On Crimes and Punishment that caused policy makers to have a different view of the death penalty. Becarria theorized that there wasn’t any justification for the state’s to take the life of a human being. The essay led to Tuscany and Austria abolishing their policy of the death penalty as a punishment for the crimes that were committed. It also gave an authoritative voice and renewed...

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