essay - Australia New South Wales and the Americas Remnants...

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Australia, New South Wales, and the Americas: Remnants of England’s Use of Transportation as a Criminal Punishment Being thrust into an unfamiliar and untamed land against one’s will is a concept that not many people view favorably and the English criminal justice system, among other European nations including France and the Netherlands, capitalized on this fear by instituting transportation as a criminal punishment in 1768. As public execution and capital punishment began to fall out of favor for those in charge of the English justice and court system, another option became available in the form of exile from England. The Americas provided a perfect destination for lawbreakers polluting English soil; the colonies already contained rebellious Brits and heretical Puritans, thus serving as a suitable dumping ground for England’s undesirables. Once the North American penal colony became closed off due to the American Revolution, England sought out other locales for the empire’s delinquents. What is now known as Australia fit the bill perfectly: entirely isolated from the “civilized world,” a landscape and climate less than thrilling for native Englishmen, and another land for Britain to lay its claim on in the meanwhile. The use of transportation as a punishment for English felons both worked and failed. Banishing felons to another land rid England of its criminals, but only temporarily, and it gave criminals another chance at starting a crime-free life in a new land, but placed these criminals together without first rehabilitating them. While some deported convicts may make the best out of their new land acting as upright and moral citizens, most will blindly, or perhaps maliciously, continue their pattern of criminality. Transportation as a
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criminal punishment, while good in theory, does not work as a long-term solution to incapacitating, deterring, or rehabilitating criminals. Explanations Transportation to Australia On a relatively small island nation space is always something that counts. Not many law-abiding citizens, particularly those with a good deal of wealth and power, wish to live next door to an institution housing criminals. Because these citizens often paid the wages of the government, their wishes were carried out and criminals were housed near poorer settlements. However, the poor too want to distance themselves from the felons, and rather than risk a mutiny from the unhappy and impoverished masses, the English government sought out other venues to place the incarcerated. Ireland was the initial dumping ground for undesirable criminals and vagrants, but a “porous border” with England allowed prisoners to easily slip back into the country, (Benis 170). The Americas were the next on the list, an even better selection since an entire ocean would separate the evil-doers from the motherland, but a revolution in the colonies quickly put an end to this. “After American independence ended transatlantic transportation, a backlog of convicts in the 1780s overcrowded gaols in which disease and alarms over
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This note was uploaded on 05/05/2008 for the course CJ 306 taught by Professor Stevenson during the Spring '08 term at Alabama.

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essay - Australia New South Wales and the Americas Remnants...

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