A history of juvenile crime, punishment, and reform in England in the years before, during, and after the era of Charles Dickens.
How were juvenile delinquents dealt with in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries? What dire circumstances led to their behavior? Were the efforts to curb their criminal tendencies successful? From 1820–1920, ideas about youth and transgression changed dramatically in the United Kingdom. Criminal Children delves into this period to uncover fascinating insight into the neglected subject of childhood crime and punishment, and the “invention” of juvenile delinquency.
Drawing on the life stories of twenty-four “bad seeds,” true crime journalists Emma Watkins and Barry Godfrey explore every aspect of these young and desperate lives: their experiences in prisons, reformatory schools, industrial schools, borstals, and female factories; their trials and criminal petitions; and the harrowing transport to Australia—considered the last resort for adult convicts and children alike.
Including resources for researching one’s own criminal forebears, Criminal Children is “an interesting book to anybody who wants to know more about juvenile offenders in England” (Nell Darby, author of Life on the Victorian Stage).