Crime in England 1815-1880 : Experiencing the criminal justice system book cover
1st Edition

Crime in England 1815-1880
Experiencing the criminal justice system

ISBN 9781843929536
Published March 18, 2015 by Routledge
182 Pages - 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Crime in England, 1815-1880 provides a unique insight into views on crime and criminality and the operation of the criminal justice system in England from the early to the late nineteenth century.

This book examines the perceived problem and causes of crime, views about offenders and the consequences of these views for the treatment of offenders in the criminal justice system. The book explores the perceived causes of criminality, as well as concerns about particular groups of offenders, such as the 'criminal classes' and the 'habitual offender', the female offender and the juvenile criminal. It also considers the development of policing, the systems of capital punishment and the transportation of offenders overseas, as well as the evolution of both local and convict prison systems. The discussion primarily investigates those who were drawn into the criminal justice system and the attitudes towards and mechanisms to address crime and offenders. The book draws together original research by the author to locate these broader developments and provides detailed case studies illuminating the lives of those who experienced the criminal justice system and how these changes were experienced in provincial England.

With an emphasis on the penal system and case studies on offenders' lives and on provincial criminal justice, this book will be useful to academics and students interested in criminal justice, history and penology, as well as being of interest to the general reader.

Table of Contents

Introduction  1. The Causes of Crime  2. The Criminal Classes and the Habitual Offender  3. Policing England, 1815-1880  4. Capital and corporal punishments: From public to private  5. Transportation: Convicts to the colonies  6. Local Prisons: Diversity, discipline, centralisation  7. Convict Prisons: Experiencing Penal Servitude  8. Women, Crime and Custody  9. Juvenile Offenders: Responding to the problem of juvenile crime  10. Concluding remarks.

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Helen Johnston is Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Hull. Her research interests lie in the history of crime and punishment, particularly in the penal system and offenders lives during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She is the editor of Punishment & Control in Historical Perspective (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) and co-editor of Prison Readings with Yvonne Jewkes (Willan, 2006).


‘This book will very quickly and deservedly become a well-thumbed and leading reference point for everyone interested in nineteenth-century crime. Johnston has produced an eminently readable and engaging review of how society perceived, rationalized and responded to criminal activity during this period. The text expertly and seamlessly synthesizes the existing literature with real-life case studies and archive material, creating a rich and vivid narrative. Johnston has truly earned her place amongst the elite writers in this field.’ - Kim Stevenson, Professor of SocioLegal History, Plymouth Law School, UK

‘This valuable and wide-ranging study illuminates changing public and official attitudes toward crime, criminality and offenders across the long nineteenth century. It charts the evolving English criminal justice system through attention to provincial offenders and local prisons, as well as the increasing penal reach of central government. The detailed and often poignant case studies of individual adult and juvenile offenders add depth to our understanding of offenders' lives and behaviour and of the wider impacts of summary justice, penal servitude, transportation and capital punishment.’Vivien Miller, Associate Professor, American and Canadian Studies, University of Nottingham, UK

‘This is a comprehensive, accessible and well-written text, which links effectively the different sectors of the nineteenth-century English criminal justice system. The author offers a multidimensional analysis, highlighting the impact of changing contexts and attitudes, engaging with key areas of historical debate and presenting evocative in depth case studies in each chapter. The latter in particular will help bring the nineteenth-century criminal justice system and its impact on individual offenders to life. In addition, this book includes a fascinating range of primary source examples and images, always supporting arguments made with plenty of evidence. This book will provide an excellent introduction to the nineteenth-century criminal justice system in England and its impact on those who were subject to its mechanisms.’ - Alyson Brown, Professor of History, Edge Hill University, UK

'In the last half century, criminal justice history has grown considerably, aided in part by newly accessible and organized archives... Johnston does not inundate readers with statistics, and she does not hew to any particular ideology.  She does an able job of presenting historiographical fashions.  This is a good state-of-the-art account, always welcome. Summing up: Recommended' P. T. Smith, emeritus, Saint Joseph's University, CHOICE Reviews