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They had a better justice system back then

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    They had a better justice system back then

    Early modern England (Tudor and Stuart eras): where criminal justice had a very clear function: to restore balance and harmony to society and reaffirm boundaries such as that of rank and age. The criminal justice system was used as a last resort and was intended to be discretionary and retributive, not punitive and vengeful as it is now. It wasn't justice solely for the sake of wielding the all powerful hammer of justice as again it is now.

    The vast majority of offences (60 to 75%) tried were property crimes, many of them arising, waxing and waning, from economic necessity. Sex crimes accounted for 2% and witchcraft was never the genocide against against women we are led to believe, even at the height of the witchcraft craze. In England it accounted for LESS THAN 0.1%. Witches were persecuted depending on the manner in which they used witchcraft; those who used it to steal a pocket watch were persecuted in the same way as anyone who stole a pocketwatch. Notice nearly all bodies of work on this area are writ by women with chips on their shoulder, looking back with a decidedly non-relativistic lens, foaming at the bit to gather all blame on the collective backs of men. But I digress.

    The procedure for when punishment assumed the form of a death penalty:
    1) Grand Jury indicted
    2) Accused asked to plead guilty or not guilty
    3) Verdict given
    4) Alloculus (accused would allocute why he shouldn't get the maximum penalty). Only 15% of men and 12% of women were found guilty and even then they could mitigate in their alloculus). At this point, men could plead the benefit of the clergy. All men children of God, in the image of God, thus all men nominally part of the clergy. They could sing a song recited from the Bible to save themselves from death ("the neck verse"). The ability to recite the song (you were trained while held in a cell awaiting trial) meant you were literate and you were saved from death. If you forgot the words, the judge actually helped you along. Recidivism was low, because they branded you to show that you had pleaded the benefit of the clergy and could not more than once.

    Women were given the option of pleading the belly (saying they were pregnant). Very convenient was that men and women were housed in the same cells to await trial (which lasted 20 minutes, sans devious lawyers) so a pregnancy could be easily arranged. One woman pleaded the belly for two years. To judge your state of impregnation, matrons supposedly experts in the matter merely cast their eye upon thou and pronounced you thus.

    The point is, no one wanted to kill. The full brunt of "justice" was never thrust against the individual allowing him no means to save himself. Yet society did not descend into chaos, despite no police, no organized criminal justice system.

    Far more common were shaming rituals, such as being placed in the stocks for an afternoon. To keep you company, a fellow deviant could be placed with you so you wouldn't feel so very, very alone when people laughed and jeered and learned their lesson that committing a crime wasn't such a svelte idea. Imprisonment was rare and virtually unheard of because what was the point, that society would never understand. The point was to restore HARMONY to the community, and putting away someone to rot away for years would not restore balance, people would never learn their lesson, the criminal would be honed and perfected for further criminal activities. Nowadays, going to jail isn't so bad, if you're short of money to pay for your education, grand larceny would be a good avenue to pursue your education and gain a degree free of charge. Plus, satellite television, which most people don't have. Ahh, the cushy rewards of crime.

    That society was better than ours. Off with hands, ears, the tips of penises (for chagrined women).

    By the way, the origins of Boxing Day arise in this era as well. The gentry / nobility in your area would box left over food and put it on the doorstep and the villagers would come to get it.

    #2
    Re: They had a better justice system back then

    They stank, in more ways than one. Says it all really.
    rubber band rubber band rubber band rubber band rubber band

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      #3
      Re: They had a better justice system back then

      I love it when kids do their homework on Gupshup.
      Now repeat after me...."Jeter is the prophet and Rivera is the savior"

      Comment


        #4
        Re: They had a better justice system back then

        I WISH this was my homework. I find it so interesting.

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          #5
          Re: They had a better justice system back then

          Sarah, I'm taking a Survey English literature class this semester. Wanna help me?
          The grass ain't always greener on the other side, it's green where you water it.

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            #6
            Re: They had a better justice system back then

            Sarah - research more, especially about the class inequities, it was NEVER a fair and just system, also PLEASE actually get some facts

            EDIT: you know it just occured to me that I am telling this to a person who is more than likely South Asian and who should know about the inequities of the English justice system, lol, never mind, if you can't keep your own history straight, I can't expect you to get anyone else's on the first try.
            Last edited by minah_pa; Jun 4, 2005, 01:00 PM.
            "Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names." - John F. Kennedy

            "Someday we gonna rise up on that wind you know
            Someday we gonna dance with those lions
            Someday we gonna break free from these chains and keep on flyin'" - flipsyde

            Comment


              #7
              Re: They had a better justice system back then

              Dear Minah,

              There was no "class", there was only order and rank. If you can't get the terminology right, I don't expect much in the way of facts from you in that arena. And actually, it was very fair, fairer than it is now. Just because fair West SUPPOSEDLY has social mobility now does not mean all of history desired it. Just because time has elapsed, does not mean we have "evolved". The people in that era were much better off. If you can tell me how they were oppressed and depressed, I would love to refute. I am talking about only early modern England here.

              EDIT: And by the way, what do you think about: "the justice system then was intended to be discretionary and retributive, not punitive and vengeful as it is now."

              Comment


                #8
                Re: They had a better justice system back then

                nevermind.
                Last edited by Maniac; Jun 4, 2005, 02:55 PM.

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                  #9
                  Re: They had a better justice system back then

                  Sarah, please, give me a break, just look it up, I never said anything whatsoever about justice in the west you opened that door, I simply said and now stress getting your facts right
                  "Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names." - John F. Kennedy

                  "Someday we gonna rise up on that wind you know
                  Someday we gonna dance with those lions
                  Someday we gonna break free from these chains and keep on flyin'" - flipsyde

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: They had a better justice system back then

                    Another reason YOU need to get your facts straight. You must not have taken many classes in the area or read this in journals, the consistent message that this society was better than what we give it credit for, that there were a lot of methods to keep over exuberant displays of power in check, that these people did not not desire social mobility, that they were not overworked, overstressed, that they led easier lives than we did, enjoyed sex, enjoyed astrology. So it's not me who needs to get my facts straight, because I have a ton of evidence to back it up. If you compare it to the society today, those in power are not responsible for the lower classes. This is the society where we make laws against "aggressive panhandlers", so-called egalitarian laws against those who are driven to sleep under bridges, where corporations pollute our rivers and our environment and there are NO laws to stop them.

                    You pretend you know so much but you don't. And you stick by your views like a leach who is unwilling to consider anything else. I don't care about the West, I brought it up because you brought up class (again showing your ignorance that you know naught about that era, because there were no classes back then) and I merely said social mobility is what we demand today, but people were very happy back then.

                    Merely that. I personally don't care about what you think, because before I attended classes on this and read some articles, I believed as you did, that these people were oppressed and ignorant. How wrong I was. How very ignorant. Merely that.

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                      #11
                      Re: They had a better justice system back then

                      Simple question..if this system was so great why is it not functioning anywhere?
                      Now repeat after me...."Jeter is the prophet and Rivera is the savior"

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: They had a better justice system back then

                        So many changes at the end of the early modern period at play: increasing literacy, the introduction of the printing press in England on a mass scale, mechanism, Protestant Reformation, less discretion for judges... None of them bad on their own but the amalgamation brought about changes. Of course in some respects we have gotten better, but we have lost many things in the process.

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                          #13
                          Re: They had a better justice system back then

                          They should have kept the 175 something holidays where corporeal labor was illegal, in my humble opinion.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Re: They had a better justice system back then

                            right so..it was a good system for those people at that time but really couldn't manifest itself into universal human virtues. Don't worry there have been many such "systems" like that in the history of humanity...what works then doesn't work now. the matriarchal societies of southern india were some of the most egalitarian and equitable societies int eh world. but they didn't last either...siht happens..I am just glad you are studying. Kids should study.
                            Now repeat after me...."Jeter is the prophet and Rivera is the savior"

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Re: They had a better justice system back then

                              What do you mean, couldn't manifest into universal human virtues?

                              Society and law are in constant flux. At one point, a vast number of people in Canadian cabinet came fom old money, old family businesses, prime perpetrators of environmental pollution on a heinous scale. Because that still might be true, it doesn't mean it's "right", that we are "evolved", that it is "human virtue" to the benefit of humanity.

                              I don't care about reigning in our horses and turning back time to Tudor era, I just think we should doff our hats once in a while at something that was managed better than us. For example, 1 in 10 households in London having held civic office.

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