Friday, April 18, 2008

Question from Jessica - Crime and Punishment

I would like to know what were the most common crimes and punishments during 1558 and 1688?

Also who decided the punishments for crimes and who enforced them?

1 comment:

PhD Historian said...

Your question is just a little confusing. Do you mean crime in 1558 and crime in 1688, or crime in the 130 years between the two dates? Assuming you mean the latter, the general answer is that the incidence of specific types of crime varied by location and the precise year. You might skim through John Weatherford's "Crime and Punishment in the England of Shakespeare and Milton (McFarland Pub., 2001) or Gregory Durston's "Crime and Justice in Early Modern England (2004). These are two recent survey works - unfortunately, much of the research and writing being done on crime and punishment is much more highly specific, either by type of crime (violent, non-violent, political, piracy, counterfieting, etc), or by narrow location (one city or county, or crimes committed by women, for example). So there is no single source from which to obtain a short and simple answer to such a broad question.