With the advance of science and knowledge in social disciplines, there has been a wave of renaissance and reformation throughout the European continent. The Declaration of Rights of Man in France in 1787 marked the end of draconian punishments and the beginning of methodical system of punishment founded on sound principle that right to punish is limited by the law of necessity. This brought about radical changes in the administration of criminal justice. In result, penology began to develop as an independent branch of criminal science with new treatment methods of punishment for the reformation of inmates.
A scientific approach to crime and criminals has shown beyond doubt that torturous punishment tends to turn offenders more dangerous and aggressive towards society. Alternatively, their rehabilitation through the method of reformation is considered more useful. With this end in view, the modem judicial trend is to incorporate correctional methods in the penal programme so as to bring about rehabilitation and re-socialisation of inmates in the community. Yet another reason for need to rationalise punishment was the deteriorated conditions of persons due to overcrowding which posed multiple problems before the prison authorities. The condition of prisons during the medieval period was awefully bad and prisoners were virtually living a life of hell on earth.
Deterrence was the cardinal rule of justice which meant considerable torture and harassment to offenders. Punishment was used as a means to inflict pain on the offenders. The theory of vengeance which is otherwise known as lex-talionis (poetic-penalties) was nothing but a perverted form of retributive method of punishment.
It was founded on the principle of ‘eye-for-art-eye and tooth for-a-tooth’. The agencies implementing these punishments adopted a very stiff attitude towards the offenders.