The history of criminal law in modern times is the story of gradual softening of the severity of old penal codes and the abolition of their barbarities. Capital punishment was a common penalty for many different offenses in the old days. And even in days not so old. In England, for example, only 120 years ago death by hanging was the legal punishment for no less than 160 offenses! Those days a man could be hanged for poaching, stealing a sheep, theft of goods worth five shillings, or picking man’s pocket! It was Sir Robert Peel who, as Home Secretary, revised the penal code in 1823. And gradually cut down the number of capital offenses to two only- murder and treason.
Capital punishment has been abolished in some countries, such as Italy and Holland. However, it is still legal in Belgium and France. It has not been enforced there for many years. People throw arguments for and against the abolition of the death penalty. Most of them are advanced.