Some of the earliest efforts to explain criminal behavior involved supernatural phenomena like religion. During the earliest times, human inquiry regarding the causes of deviant or criminal behavior led many to believe that witchcraft, spells, or demon possession were among the root causes of aberrant social behavior.

These ideas are reflected in the resulting public responses to criminal behavior. For example, trial by ordeal became a common practice in many parts of the world. In essence, trial by ordeal involved subjecting a suspected individual to a harsh physical task that ...

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