In The Green Mile movie (1999) the main character is a guardian in jail and performs death penalty executions. One can see that on such executions some external people come to watch (as "external" I mean common people other than guardians, priest, and all the stuff). The action takes place in 1930s. - if I remember correctly - Louisiana.
Are there any memoirs, press articles, explaining why people did attend such shows?
In medieval times or even up to 1800s. it was some sort of entertainment or just curiosity ("Something is happening on the town square, I'll better go and check out"). The depicted events happen in the jail, so it is necessary to come there (make some effort).
Was it just to ensure myself that the Good always wins or the law system operates correctly? Maybe was it some sort of public pressure to enjoy this? Was it considered to be a citizen's duty?