Manipulating the Media: Victorian Lawyers, Transportation, and the Creation of Panic over Habitual Criminals
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This article explores the largely forgotten attempts by key members of the legal profession in mid-nineteenth England to bring about a government rethink on the decision to abandon transportation. By creating alarm and despondency about the danger posed by introduction of the ticket-of-leave system to the United Kingdom, they hoped to generate popular pressure for a continuation of transportation overseas. To achieve this, the legal profession made use of their influence over the content of crime reportage to challenge the assurances given by figures like Colonel Jebb about the positive early results of domestic penal servitude and to generate widespread concern about the transference of a convict stain back to the UK. A number of destinations were suggested, with serious consideration being given to both the Falkland Islands and Vancouver Island. The attempt to establish a mass-based popular movement to continue transportation failed, but the result was an enduring legacy of public alarm over recidivism and its threat.
Rowbotham, J. (2019) 'Manipulating the Media: Victorian Lawyers, Transportation, and the Creation of Panic over Habitual Criminals', SOLON Law, Crime and History, 9(1), p. 62-97.