Executions Yearly by Sex in Scotland from 1800

face of a prisoner

Total number of persons executed in Scotland, by year and sex, from 1800. Characteristics of individual executions, including sex, age, crime, and place of execution.

Scotland, a center of Enlightenment thinking, has tended to administer less punishment per capita and bias punishment less toward men than has England and Wales. That’s true for executions as well as banishment (transportation) and imprisonment.

Executions in Scotland decreased greatly after 1869. From 1800 to 1868, executions in Scotland averaged about 4 per year. From 1869 to 1899, executions averaged about 0.5 per year. That’s the same average as for the twentieth century through to the last execution in Scotland in 1963. Scotland led England and Wales in the centralization and rationalization of prisons. Scotland also led England and Wales in reducing the use of the death penalty.

Like in England and Wales, the anti-men sex bias in executions in Scotland doubled in the twentieth century relative to the nineteenth century. Across the nineteenth century in Scotland, about 16 men were executed per woman executed. That ratio continued to hold when the total number of executions were reduced greatly after 1869. In the twentieth century, the average number of executions remained similar that in the late nineteenth century, but the ratio of men to women executed rose to 33. Nineteenth-century Scotland included explicit sex discrimination in imprisonment policy. The more significant sex discrimination in administration of the death penalty was implicit and systemic.

Dataset sheets:

  • year totals: yearly count of executions by sex, with comparison of data sources
  • unified: description of individual instances of executions since 1800, including year executed, name of person executed, sex, age, crime/murder victim, execution place.
  • since 1900: description of individual instances of executions, with addition data on prison, victims’ names, and hangman’s name.
  • 1868-1899: description of individual instances of executions, with addition data on trial date.
  • 1800-1867: description of individual instances of executions

Related datasets:

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