Penal colony

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Epigraphy in honour of an Irish prisoner in the Australian penal colony of Botany Bay. Mernagh monument.JPG
Epigraphy in honour of an Irish prisoner in the Australian penal colony of Botany Bay.

A penal colony or exile colony is a settlement used to exile prisoners and separate them from the general population by placing them in a remote location, often an island or distant colonial territory. Although the term can be used to refer to a correctional facility located in a remote location it is more commonly used to refer to communities of prisoners overseen by wardens or governors having absolute authority.

Human settlement Community of any size, in which people live

In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a small number of dwellings grouped together to the largest of cities with surrounding urbanized areas. Settlements may include hamlets, villages, towns and cities. A settlement may have known historical properties such as the date or era in which it was first settled, or first settled by particular people.

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Historically penal colonies have often been used for penal labour in an economically underdeveloped part of a state's (usually colonial) territories, and on a far larger scale than a prison farm.

Penal labour work that prisoners are required to perform

Penal labour is a generic term for various kinds of unfree labour which prisoners are required to perform, typically manual labour. The work may be light or hard, depending on the context. Forms of sentence involving penal labour have included involuntary servitude, penal servitude and imprisonment with hard labour. The term may refer to several related scenarios: labour as a form of punishment, the prison system used as a means to secure labour, and labour as providing occupation for convicts. These scenarios can be applied to those imprisoned for political, religious, war, or other reasons as well as to criminal convicts.

Prison farm

A prison farm is a large correctional facility where penal labor convicts are put to economical use in a farm, usually for manual labor, largely in open air, such as in agriculture, logging, quarrying, and mining. The concepts of prison farm and labor camp overlap. The historical equivalent on a very large scale was called a penal colony.

British Empire

Penal colony in the Andaman Islands (c. 1895) Andamans QE3 116.jpg
Penal colony in the Andaman Islands (c. 1895)

The British used colonial North America as a penal colony through a system of indentured servitude. Merchants would transport the convicts and auction them off (for example) to plantation owners upon arrival in the colonies. It is estimated that some 50,000 British convicts were sent to colonial America and the majority landed in the Chesapeake Colonies of Maryland and Virginia. Transported convicts represented perhaps one-quarter of all British emigrants during the 18th century. [1] The colony of Georgia, for example, was first founded by James Edward Oglethorpe who originally intended to use prisoners taken largely from debtors' prison, creating a "Debtor's Colony," where the prisoners could learn trades and work off their debts. Even though this largely failed, the idea that the state began as a penal colony has persisted, both in popular history and local lore. [2] The British and earlier English would often ship rebellious Irish and Welsh [ citation needed ] to the Americas, or Scottish prisoners of war during the ensuing Wars of the Three Kingdoms and Third English Civil War [3] but these were sent mostly to Maryland and Virginia, not Georgia. [4]

Indentured servitude unfree labor system

An indentured servant or indentured laborer is an employee (indenturee) within a system of unfree labor who is bound by a signed or forced contract (indenture) to work for a particular employer for a fixed time. The contract often lets the employer sell the labor of an indenturee to a third party. Indenturees usually enter into an indenture for a specific payment or other benefit, or to meet a legal obligation, such as debt bondage. On completion of the contract, indentured servants were given their freedom, and occasionally plots of land. In many countries, systems of indentured labor have now been outlawed, and are banned by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a form of slavery.

Chesapeake Colonies Historic region of British North America, now in the central East Coast of the United States

The Chesapeake Colonies were the Colony and Dominion of Virginia, later the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Province of Maryland, later Maryland, both colonies located in British America and centered on the Chesapeake Bay. Settlements of the Chesapeake region grew slowly due to diseases such as malaria. Most of these settlers were male immigrants from England who died soon after their arrival. Due to the majority of men, eligible women did not remain single for long. The native-born population eventually became immune to the Chesapeake diseases and these colonies were able to continue through all the hardships.

Province of Maryland English, from 1707, British, possession in North America between 1664 and 1776

The Province of Maryland was an English and later British colony in North America that existed from 1632 until 1776, when it joined the other twelve of the Thirteen Colonies in rebellion against Great Britain and became the U.S. state of Maryland. Its first settlement and capital was St. Mary's City, in the southern end of St. Mary's County, which is a peninsula in the Chesapeake Bay and is also bordered by four tidal rivers.

When that avenue closed in the 1780s after the American Revolution, Britain began using parts of what is now known as Australia as penal settlements. Australian penal colonies included Norfolk Island, Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania), Queensland and New South Wales. Advocates of Irish Home Rule or of Trade Unionism (the Tolpuddle Martyrs) sometimes received sentences of deportation to these Australian colonies.[ citation needed ]. Without the allocation of the available convict labour to farmers, to pastoral squatters, and to government projects such as roadbuilding, colonisation of Australia may not have been possible,[ citation needed ] especially considering the considerable drain on non-convict labor caused by several goldrushes that took place in the second half of the 19th century after the flow of convicts had dwindled and (in 1868) ceased.

American Revolutionary War War between Great Britain and the Thirteen Colonies, which won independence as the United States of America

The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was an 18th-century war between Great Britain and its Thirteen Colonies which declared independence as the United States of America.

Norfolk Island external territory of Australia in the South Pacific Ocean, consisting of the island of the same name plus neighbouring islands

Norfolk Island is an island in the Pacific Ocean located between Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia, 1,412 kilometres (877 mi) directly east of mainland Australia's Evans Head, and about 900 kilometres (560 mi) from Lord Howe Island. Together with the two neighbouring islands Phillip Island and Nepean Island it forms one of the Commonwealth of Australia's external territories. At the 2016 Australian census, it had 1748 inhabitants living on a total area of about 35 km2 (14 sq mi). Its capital is Kingston.

Van Diemens Land British colony, later called Tasmania

Van Diemen's Land was the original name used by most Europeans for the island of Tasmania, part of Australia. The name was changed from Van Diemen's Land to Tasmania in 1856.

Bermuda, off the North American continent, was also used during the Victorian period. Convicts housed in hulks were used to build the Royal Naval Dockyard there, and during the Second Boer War (1899–1902), Boer prisoners-of-war were sent to the archipelago and imprisoned on one of the smaller islands.

Bermuda British overseas territory in the North Atlantic Ocean

Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is approximately 1,070 km (665 mi) east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina; 1,236 km (768 mi) south of Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia; and 1,759 km (1,093 mi) northeast of Cuba. The capital city is Hamilton. Bermuda is self-governing, with its own constitution and government and a Parliament which makes local laws. The United Kingdom retains responsibility for defence and foreign relations. As of July 2018, its population is 71,176, the highest of the British overseas territories.

Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda known as HMD Bermuda, the dockyard at the core of the Royal Navy base in Bermuda

HMD Bermuda was the principal base of the Royal Navy in the Western Atlantic between American independence and the Cold War. Bermuda had occupied a useful position astride the homeward leg taken by many European vessels from the New World since before its settlement by England in 1609. French privateers may have used the islands as a staging place for operations against Spanish galleons in the 16th century. Bermudian privateers certainly played a role in many Imperial wars following settlement. Despite this, it was not until the loss of bases on most of the North American Atlantic seaboard threatened Britain's supremacy in the Western Atlantic that the island assumed great importance as a naval base. In 1818 the Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda officially replaced the Royal Naval Dockyard, Halifax as the British headquarters for the North America and West Indies Station.

Second Boer War war between two Boer Republics (South African Republic and Orange Free State) and the United Kingdom

The Second Boer War was fought between the British Empire and two Boer states, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State, over the Empire's influence in South Africa. It is also known variously as the Boer War, Anglo-Boer War, or South African War. Initial Boer attacks were successful, and although British reinforcements later reversed these, the war continued for years with Boer guerrilla warfare, until harsh British counter-measures brought the Boers to terms.

In colonial India, the British made various penal colonies. Two of the most infamous ones are on the Andaman Islands and Hijli. In the early days of settlement, Singapore Island was the recipient of Indian convicts, who were tasked with clearing the jungles for settlement and early public works.[ citation needed ]

Andaman Islands archipelago in the Bay of Bengal

The Andaman Islands form an archipelago in the Bay of Bengal between India, to the west, and Myanmar, to the north and east. Most are part of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands which are the Union Territory of India, while a small number in the north of the archipelago, including the Coco Islands, belong to Myanmar.

Singapore Island the main island of the island country of Singapore

Pulau Ujong, also known as Singapore Island or Mainland Singapore, is the main constituent island of Singapore. It is part of the Malay Archipelago and is located at the tip of Peninsular Malaysia. The island forms the majority of the country in terms of area and population as citizens are unable to reside in smaller islands of Singapore. With a population of 5,469,700 and an area of 710 square kilometres, Pulau Ujong is the 21st most populous island in the world and the 31st most densely populated island in the world.

A common misconception is that most of the former British Empire colonies were formed via convicts sent over from Britain thus rendering countries like Australia a nation of convicts, where in reality they represented only a fraction of the established colonies at that time. [ citation needed ]

France

France sent criminals to tropical penal colonies including Louisiana in the early 18th century. [5] Devil's Island in French Guiana, 1852–1939, received forgers and other criminals. New Caledonia and its Isle of Pines in Melanesia (in the South Sea) received transported dissidents like the Communards, Kabyles rebels as well as convicted criminals between the 1860s and 1897.

Elsewhere

See also

Related Research Articles

Gulag government agency in charge of the Soviet forced labor camp system

The Gulag was the government agency in charge of the Soviet forced-labour camp-system that was set up under Vladimir Lenin and reached its peak during Joseph Stalin's rule from the 1930s to the early 1950s. English-language speakers also use the word gulag to refer to any forced-labor camp in the Soviet Union, including camps which existed in post-Stalin times. The camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners. Large numbers were convicted by simplified procedures, such as by NKVD troikas or by other instruments of extrajudicial punishment. The Gulag is recognized by many as a major instrument of political repression in the Soviet Union.

Corrections functions involving the punishment, treatment, and supervision of persons who have been convicted of crimes.

In criminal justice, particularly in North America, correction, corrections, and correctional, are umbrella terms describing a variety of functions typically carried out by government agencies, and involving the punishment, treatment, and supervision of persons who have been convicted of crimes. These functions commonly include imprisonment, parole and probation. A typical correctional institution is a prison. A correctional system, also known as a penal system, thus refers to a network of agencies that administer a jurisdiction's prisons and community-based programs like parole and probation boards;. This system is part of the larger criminal justice system, which additionally includes police, prosecution and courts. Jurisdictions throughout Canada and the US have ministries or departments, respectively, of corrections, correctional services, or similarly-named agencies.

Devils Island Cayennes Prison in French Guiana

The penal colony of Cayenne, commonly known as Devil's Island, was a French penal colony that operated in the 19th and 20th century in the Salvation's Islands of French Guiana. Opened in 1852, the Devil's Island system received convicts deported from all parts of the Second French Empire, and was infamous for its harsh treatment of detainees, with a death rate of 75% at their worst, until it was closed down in 1953. Devil's Island was notorious for being used for the internal exile of French political prisoners, with the most famous being Captain Alfred Dreyfus.

A convict is "a person found guilty of a crime and sentenced by a court" or "a person serving a sentence in prison". Convicts are often also known as "prisoners" or "inmates" or by the slang term "con", while a common label for former convicts, especially those recently released from prison, is "ex-con" ("ex-convict"). Persons convicted and sentenced to non-custodial sentences tend not to be described as "convicts".

Penal transportation Method of dealing with prisoners

Penal transportation or transportation was the relocation of convicted criminals, or other persons regarded as undesirable, to a distant place, often a colony for a specified term; later, specifically established penal colonies became their destination. While the prisoners may have been released once the sentences were served, they generally did not have the resources to get themselves back home.

Port Arthur, Tasmania Town in Tasmania, Australia

Port Arthur is a small town and former convict settlement on the Tasman Peninsula, in Tasmania, Australia. Port Arthur is one of Australia's most significant heritage areas and an open-air museum.

Katorga

Katorga was a system of penal labor in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. Prisoners were sent to remote penal colonies in vast uninhabited areas of Siberia and Russian Far East where voluntary settlers and workers were never available in sufficient numbers. The prisoners had to perform forced labor under harsh conditions.

Labor camp prison

A labor camp or work camp is a simplified detention facility where inmates are forced to engage in penal labor as a form of punishment under the criminal code. Labour camps have many common aspects with slavery and with prisons. Conditions at labor camps vary widely depending on the operators.

Cellular Jail colonial prison

The Cellular Jail, also known as Kālā Pānī, was a colonial prison in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. The prison was used by the British especially to exile political prisoners to the remote archipelago. Many notable independence activists such as Batukeshwar Dutt, Yogendra Shukla and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, among others, were imprisoned here during the struggle for India's independence. Today, the complex serves as a national memorial monument.

Convict era of Western Australia

The convict era of Western Australia was the period during which Western Australia was a penal colony of the British Empire. Although it received small numbers of juvenile offenders from 1842, it was not formally constituted as a penal colony until 1849. Between 1850 and 1868, 9,721 convicts were transported to Western Australia on 43 convict ship voyages. Transportation ceased in 1868, and it was many years until the colony ceased to have any convicts in its care.

Akatuy katorga

Akatuy katorga prison was part of the Nerchinsk katorga system of the Russian Empire, and was situated in today's Alexandrovo-Zavodsky District of Transbaikalia. It was constructed in 1888 at the Akatuyskom mine, what is now the village of New Akatuy. Originally labor convicts were used here for extraction of lead-silver ores. After the closing of the Kara katorga in 1890, it became one of the main centers of detention of political prisoners. It was turned into a women's penal camp in 1911 and was finally shut down after the February Revolution of 1917.

Convicts in Australia

Between 1788 and 1868, about 162,000 convicts were transported from Britain to various penal colonies in Australia.

Transportation Act 1717

The Transportation Act 1717 was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain that established a regulated, bonded system to transport criminals to colonies in North America for indentured service, as a punishment for those convicted or attained in Great Britain, excluding Scotland. The act, is long titled An Act for the further preventing Robbery, Burglary, and other Felonies, and for the more effectual Transportation of Felons, and unlawful Exporters of Wool; and for declaring the Law upon some Points relating to Pirates. The act established a seven-year transportation sentence as a punishment for people convicted of lesser felonies, and a fourteen-year sentence for more serious crimes, in lieu of capital punishment. Completion of the sentence had the effect of a pardon; the punishment for returning before completion was death. An estimated 50,000 convicts were transported to the British American colonies.

Forced labor was used extensively in the Soviet Union as a means of controlling Soviet citizens and foreigners. Forced labor also provided manpower for government projects and for reconstruction after the war. It began before the Gulag and Kolkhoz systems were established, although through these institutions, its scope and severity were increased. The conditions that accompanied forced labor were often harsh and could be deadly.

A corrective colony is the most common type of prison in Russia and some post-Soviet states. Such colonies combine penal detention with compulsory work. The system of labor colonies originated in 1929 alongside the Gulag labor camps, and after 1953 the corrective penal colonies in the Soviet Union developed as a post-Stalin replacement of the Gulag labor-camp system.

North Korea's political penal labour colonies, transliterated kwalliso or kwan-li-so, constitute one of three forms of political imprisonment in the country, the other two being what Hawk translated as "short-term detention/forced-labor centers" and "long-term prison labor camps", for misdemeanour and felony offenses respectively. In total, there are an estimated 80,000 to 120,000 political prisoners.

Heinrich Bütefisch SS officer

Heinrich Bütefisch was a German chemist, manager at IG Farben, and Nazi war criminal. He was an Obersturmbannführer in the SS.

History of United States prison systems zizi

Imprisonment as a form of criminal punishment only became widespread in the United States just before the American Revolution, though penal incarceration efforts had been ongoing in England since as early as the 1500s, and prisons in the form of dungeons and various detention facilities had existed since long before then. Prison building efforts in the United States came in three major waves. The first began during the Jacksonian Era and led to widespread use of imprisonment and rehabilitative labor as the primary penalty for most crimes in nearly all states by the time of the American Civil War. The second began after the Civil War and gained momentum during the Progressive Era, bringing a number of new mechanisms—such as parole, probation, and indeterminate sentencing—into the mainstream of American penal practice. Finally, since the early 1970s, the United States has engaged in a historically unprecedented expansion of its imprisonment systems at both the federal and state level. Since 1973, the number of incarcerated persons in the United States has increased five-fold, and in a given year 7,000,000 people were under the supervision or control of correctional services in the United States. These periods of prison construction and reform produced major changes in the structure of prison systems and their missions, the responsibilities of federal and state agencies for administering and supervising them, as well as the legal and political status of prisoners themselves.

Ross Island Penal Colony

Ross Island Penal Colony was a convict settlement that was established in 1858 in the remote Andaman Islands by the British colonial government in India, primarily to jail a large number of prisoners from the Indian Rebellion of 1857, also known as the Indian Mutiny. With the establishment of the penal colony at Ross Island, the British administration made it the administrative headquarters for the entire group of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and built bungalows and other facilities on the site. This colony was meant as "manageable models of colonial governance and rehabilitation". The Chief Commissioner's residence was located at the highest point on the island.

References

Citations

  1. Ekirch, A. Roger (1987), Bound For America: The Transportation of British Convicts to the Colonies, 1718–1775, Oxford University Press.
  2. Butler, James Davie (October 1896), "British Convicts Shipped to American Colonies", American Historical Review 2, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History
  3. Atkin 2004 , pp. 144-147
  4. Newman, Harry Wright (1984). To Maryland From Overseas. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co. p. 1. ISBN   0806311096.
  5. Taylor, Alan. American Colonies. Penguin: London(2001).
  6. For example: Feig, Konnilyn G. (1981). Hitler's Death Camps: The Sanity of Madness (reissue ed.). Holmes & Meier Publishers. p. 296. ISBN   9780841906761 . Retrieved 29 June 2015. [...] a forced-labor camp [...] named Arbeitslager Treblinka I [...] an order exists, dated November 15, 1941, establishing that penal colony.
  7. Jager, Sheila Miyoshi (2013). Brothers at War: The Unending Conflict in Korea. Profile Books. p. 458. ISBN   9781847652027 . Retrieved 29 June 2015. Prison labor camps, or kwalliso, were first established in North Korea after liberation from Japan to imprison enemies of the revolution, landowners, collaborators, and religious leaders. After the war, these places housed un-repatriated South Korean prisoners of war. [...] There are six such camps in existence today, according to a May 2011 Amnesty International report, 'huge areas of land and located in vast wilderness sites in South Pyong'an, South Hamyong and North Hamyong Provinces.' ... Perhaps the most notorious penal colony is kwalliso no. 15. or Yodok [...].
  8. Stewart, John (2006). African States and Rulers (3 ed.). McFarland & Company. p. 96. ISBN   9780786425624 . Retrieved 29 June 2015. From 1879 the Spanish basically used Fernando Po as a penal colony for captured Cuban rebels.
  9. Gates, David (1986). The Spanish Ulcer: A History of the Peninsular War. W W Norton & Co. ISBN   0-393-02281-1.

Sources

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  • Serrill, M. S., "Norfolk – A Retrospective – New Debate Over a Famous Prison Experiment," Corrections Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 4 (August 1982), pp. 25–32.
  • Mun Cheong Yong, V. V. Bhanoji Rao, "Singapore-India Relations: A Primer", Study Group on Singapore-India Relations, National University of Singapore Centre for Advanced Studies Contributor Mun Cheong Yong, V. V. Bhanoji Rao, Yong Mun Cheong, Published by NUS Press, 1995. ISBN   978-9971-69-195-0.