The English criminal justice system has come a long way since the
days when noses were cut off, heretics burned at the stake and
rebels were hung, drawn and quartered. Yet the Common Law, which
emerged from Henry II's conflict with Thomas a Becket, survives in
England (and much of the English-speaking world) and magistrates
still deal with 95 per cent of crimes as they have done for at
least 650 years. We no longer duck scolds and witches but we still
follow Magna Carta in the way we try people; and we no longer cut
off hands or heads; instead we impose curfews, 'tag' persistent
offenders and, where necessary, lock them up. This book shows how
our system of justice, crime and punishment has evolved and
suggests where we go from here.
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