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NCJ Number: 210431 Find in a Library
Title: Shooting Felons: Law, Practice, Official Culture, and Perceptions of Morality
Journal: Journal of Law and Society  Volume:32  Issue:2  Dated:June 2005  Pages:241-266
Author(s): A. W. Brian Simpson
Date Published: June 2005
Page Count: 26
Type: Historical Overview; Legislation/Policy Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This article traces the history of the relationship between formal law and administrative practice regarding the shooting of escaping felons in Great Britain.
Abstract: The common law divided criminal offenses into treasons, felonies, and misdemeanors. For many years, this distinction between felonies and misdemeanors was particularly significant to prisoners, because felons were liable to be shot if they attempted to escape, but misdemeanants were not regarded as sufficiently dangerous to warrant such a response. Originally the commission of any felony subjected the felon to liability to capital punishment, so the use of deadly force against a felon attempting to escape was deemed justified in the interest of justice. Most of the shootings of felons attempting to escape prison in Great Britain occurred at Dartmoor Prison, one of the most isolated of the British prisons. The practice of shooting at felons to prevent escape eventually ended some 50 years after the last felon had been killed in an escape attempt. The law on the subject remained the same until 1967, when the distinction between felonies and misdemeanors was abolished by Britain's Criminal Law Act. 130 notes
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Correctional Officers; Escape; Fleeing felons; Foreign criminal justice systems; Foreign laws; Inmate fatalities; Lawful use of force
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