England's Policy of Transportation

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England's Policy of Transportation, which began in 1718, was based on the ancient biblical tradition of banishment. Originally, England transported small numbers of criminals that had committed serious crimes to the American Colonies. These small numbers were assimilated as slaves into the settler population with little or no effect (Kercher, 2003).


The rebellion in the colonies had made it impossible to use them as a penal colony and in 1788 England began to transport mass numbers of these criminals to Australia. This dark period in England's criminal justice history saw the transportation of 160,000 people to the continent (Sheehan, Miller, & Hudzik, n.d.). Many were children, some were elderly, and most had been convicted of only very minor offences. England's Policy of Transportation was a heinous immorality, unjustly perpetrated in an ineffective attempt to control England's lower class and their petty crimes.
The harshness of Britain's reaction to crime is understandable as upper class citizens feared the pickpockets and thieves and demanded action from the government. However, to send any person, not to mention a child, across the sea with no hope of returning strips them of their last remaining possession, their cultural identity. The initial voyage contained 700 convicts whose number included a 9 year old boy convicted of stealing and an 82 year old woman caught lying under oath (Martz, 2000). These hapless passengers were thrown together with a brutal adult population to endure abuse and worse. ...
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