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Crime And Punishment: The 20th Century

In GCSE History, students will look at how crime and punishment have changed over the centuries by looking at different periods. One area they will study is 20th Century Britain.

Britain saw much reform in both areas during the 20th Century. The growth of motoring brought a new arena for crime as laws were created to control drivers. However, the forms of punishment generally became less harsh. At the same time some areas were decriminalised in a more liberal society. Armed police were more commonly seen, but shooting incidents involving the police were rare.

Learn more about crime and punishment in 20th Century Britain by playing this quiz.

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  1. In 1902 special institutions were set up to deal with young offenders. What were they called?
    The first one was established in Kent
  2. In 1948 flogging was abolished as a punishment in prisons. What instrument was used?
    Many people found this punishment obscene and cruel
  3. What form of capital punishment was suspended, and then abolished, from 1965?
    Many people regarded capital punishment in any shape or form as unacceptable. In particular it was not clear that it served as a deterrent
  4. In 1967 sexual relations between consenting males over 21 were made legal. What further condition was added?
    Sexual acts between women had long been legal, and now homosexual law reform had real public support
  5. Also from 1967, tests could be administered at the roadside by the police to determine how much alcohol a driver had drunk. What form did these tests take?
    Now it became unfashionable to drink and drive. Drink drivers risked losing their licences
  6. From 1972 CSOs could be imposed on convicted defendants instead of prison, probation or fines. What does CSO stand for?
    These had of course to be supervised, but they did keep many people out of overcrowded jails
  7. In 1987 corporal punishment was abolished in state schools, and in 1999 this ban was extended to independent schools. What instrument of punishment had been used on pupils' hands hitherto in Scottish state schools?
    The use of physical punishment was declining in most schools before the legislation
  8. In the 1990s a new way of keeping a check on released prisoners was introduced. What was the method called?
    This was another cheap way of tracking people. If they abused this system, they could be sent back to jail
  9. There are now four categories of prison (and therefore four categories of prisoner too). Which category is graded as "not maximum security, but escape needs to be made very difficult"?
    Prison escapes are to be avoided at all cost. Finding escapees is a time-consuming and expensive task
  10. Under the Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971 drugs are assigned to a number of categories. In which category would one find heroin, cocaine and LSD?
    Drugs are regularly re-assigned to a different category, and occasionally removed from classification altogether

Author: Edward Towne

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