Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
American Criminal Justice, History of
Mitchel P. Roth
No other century has included more advances in criminal justice than did the twentieth century. The past one hundred years witnessed the transition from Bertillon anthropometry to identification systems using voice and eye-printing, satellite surveillance, and the use of artificial intelligence. Still, the same problems persist—poverty, racism, organized crime, and violence. The criminal justice system has made great strides toward modernization since the days of the night watchman and the constable. However, the criminal justice system over the past millennia did not develop in a vacuum but rather was stimulated by unforeseen factors such as urbanization, industrialization, and immigration. Before the jury, the court system, and the penitentiary, primitive societies relied on unwritten customs that were often more rigid than written law. The earliest societies relied on customs, magic, and religion to maintain order prior to the advent of complex systems of law. In primitive cultures, any breach of the ...