Why did the authorities start using transportation as a punishment in the 1660’s and stop using it in 1868?

Topics: Prison, British Empire, Death Penalty Pages: 2 (778 words) Published: January 9, 2014
Since the 1660’s, the British government had been ridding Britain of rebels and criminals they no longer wanted in the country. This method of punishment was typically known as transportation. This involved sending the convicts to another country to commit hard labour and to live in deserved difficult conditions. Since the 1660s, the main transportation location from Britain was to the American colonies. However, when the American colonies had won their independence, transportation to there stopped suddenly. This created trouble for British convicts, as they desperately needed a new place to put the criminals; their prisons and hulks were becoming too overcrowded. Australia was then chosen as the main settlement because it at that time had recently been discovered (1770) so it would be deserted and available for labour. One of the reasons why authorities started using transportation as a punishment was to provide an alternative to hanging. Whilst the Bloody Code was present as the law, the majority of the public believed that hanging was too extreme, especially for minor crimes. They felt that having the same cruel punishment for a minor and major crime was a ridiculous rule. Juries would often not convict people and judges would find excuses not to hang people. As hanging was out of the question, another punishment that was not as cruel as the death penalty needed to be made; transportation being a suitable consequence for criminals and rebels as it still acted as a punishment because of the labour, and it didn’t have the intention of killing people. During the 1660’s, there were very few prisons and building new ones would cost authorities a lot. This also created another reason for transportation to become a new punishment, as it would give criminals a place to stay that wouldn’t cost the British authorities. Another reason why transportation started was because it was a satisfactory method to reform the criminals; thought better than prisons. The...
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