Here are general secondary sources for crime and punishment in the United States, and during its colonial times, as well as some more specific works on capital punishment. Works on transportation of convicts, prisons, and convict women are also listed in this finding aid under Crime & Punishment - Prisons, Crime & Punishment - Transportation, and Crime & Punishment - Women.
Alix, Ernest Kahlar. Ransom Kidnapping in America, 1874-1974: The Creation of a Capital Crime.Carbondale, Il.: Southern Illinois University Press, 1978.
HV8699.U5 C3 1997
Capital Punishment in the United States: A Documentary History.Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 1997.
Henderson, Dwight F. Congress, Courts, and Criminals: The Development of Federal Criminal Law, 1801-1829. Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 1985.
Murchison, Kenneth M. Federal Criminal Law Doctrines: The Forgotten Influence of National Prohibition. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1994.
Pestritto, Ronald J. Founding the Criminal Law: Punishment and Political Thought in the Origins of America. DeKalb, Il.: Northern Illinois University Press, 2000.
HV9955.M3 S45 1996r
Semmes, Raphael. Crime and Punishment in Early Maryland. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996.
KF9390.A7 T74 1986
The Tree of Liberty: A Documentary History of Rebellion and Political Crime in America.Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986.
Revised ed., 1998 also available: KF9390 .A7T74 1998
Wharton, Francis. A Treatise on the Criminal Law of the United States: Comprising a Digest of the Penal Statutes of the General Government and of Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Philadelphia: J. Kay, Jr., & Brother, 1846.
Also in microfiche.