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The Oxford History of the Laws of EnglandVolume XIII: 1820–1914 Fields of Development$
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William Cornish, J Stuart Anderson, Ray Cocks, Michael Lobban, Patrick Polden, and Keith Smith

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199239757

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239757.001.0001

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Punishment: Death and Transfiguration

Punishment: Death and Transfiguration

(p.138) V Punishment: Death and Transfiguration
The Oxford History of the Laws of England

Keith Smith

Oxford University Press

This chapter on the institution of punishment in the 19th century begins with a discussion of considerable distance between the law's formal severity and the realities of its enforcement. The immediate consequences of the huge range of capital statutes, largely of 18th-century origin, were their extensive modification by the intervention of broad discretionary mitigatory practices aimed at achieving individual justice whilst retaining general deterrence. It then discusses experiments in reform, deterrence by imprisonment, uniformity of punishment, and nationalization of prisons.

Keywords:   English law, criminal law, punishment, law enforcement, deterrence, prisons

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