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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 135998 Find in a Library
Title: Crime and Punishment in Renaissance Florence
Journal: Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology  Volume:81  Issue:3  Dated:(Fall 1990)  Pages:567-584
Author(s): M E Wolfgang
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 8
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: By studying records related to an old prison called Le Stinche, this paper presents an empirical evaluation of the origins and development of the cultural values which underlie the social reaction to crime in Renaissance Florence.
Abstract: The main source of data was the 500 volumes of archival records that relate directly to the prison. Other source materials included records contemporary to the time, confidential reports, public reports, governmental documents, and fiction and folk literature. The cultural setting of Renaissance Florence is outlined briefly emphasizing the political structure, guild organization, and artistic advancement of the period. The idea of imprisonment as punishment per se and without corporal punishment was created and cultivated within the cultural context of Renaissance Florence. During the 14th and 15th centuries in Florence, crimes were defined by and punishment came to be mitigated by substitution of deprivation of liberty alone. The records have provided the historical sociologist with details regarding definite periods of imprisonment, the use of deterrence, and even of rehabilitation as a rationale for punishment. Central to understanding the Florentine innovation of imprisonment as a sanction is the relationship between time, money, and punishment. Further research is needed to determine whether these generalizations can be protected to any other time or location. 55 notes
Main Term(s): History of corrections; Incarceration
Index Term(s): Foreign correctional facilities; Italy; Sociological analyses
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