Crime and punishment through time has made some dramatic changes. The earliest form of written code is the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi, though most of western law comes from Ancient Rome. In 451 BC the Roman Republic issued the Law of the Twelve Tables that constituted the basis of Roman law. Theft and assault were crimes committed against individual and required the victim to prosecute the offender before the appropriate magistrates and an assembly of the citizens. Additions were made over time, new courts were developed during the roman empire and a degree of uniformity was consequently imposed over much of Europe. From the 5th century AD and the great migration of people swept across Europe new customs and forms of law were established.
Some historians argue that you can’t really talk about criminal law much before the 12th century because it was in the 12th century that Roman law specifically the Justinian code was revived. It wasn’t until 1532 that the Holy Roman Empire issued a full legal code - the Constitio Criminalis Carolina. By the close of the 16th century England had a set of royal law in place within its boundaries. The English system was one of common law. France had several hundred separate codes these as in much of Europe were generally a mix of customary law and Roman law.
In the early modern period a degree of rigour was introduced into their record keeping therefore making it easier to gather statistics from court records. In the coming years the analysis of punishment showed that there was a shift from the brutal punishments inflicted to the body in Roman times and the middle ages to the institution of prisons in the 19th century with the reformation of the offender being more important than punishment.
As we know serious crimes or felonies can be divided into two broad categories crimes against a person and crimes involving property. Less...