Botany Bay to Devil's Island

Peter Redfield

in Space in the Tropics

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2000 | ISBN: 9780520219847
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520923423 | DOI:
Botany Bay to Devil's Island

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This chapter draws attention to the period between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, when the European attitude toward punishment shifted to an official level. Public trials and prisons took the place of public torture and execution, and focus moved to the issue of whether malefactors might be reformed. Even as techniques of confinement, isolation, and regulation grew refined in Metropolitan prison architecture, cruder structures of punishment took shape on the periphery. The Australian system faded away, making a lasting impression and echoing across the English Channel, where French officials sought solutions for their own dilemmas of crime. Glowing references to Australia and proposals to establish an overseas prison appeared frequently during the first half of the nineteenth century. The double logic of the British system also drove the French imagination. Proposals alternately concentrated on a desire to punish criminals and get rid of their presence from the Metropole, and a hope of furthering the work of colonial expansion and economic progress.

Keywords: Botany Bay; Devil's Island; public trials; prison architecture; British system; colonial expansion

Chapter.  10428 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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