Haunting mugshots of Victorian child criminals – including girl aged SEVEN jailed for stealing a pramJanuary 31, 2022
CHILD criminals as young as seven years old are pictured in a haunting collection of mugshots from a Victorian jail.
Offences as trivial as stealing a handkerchief saw the youngsters locked up in Oxford Castle Prison.
The snaps date from 1870, when photography was in its infancy, and detail the crimes their subjects committed.
Seven-year-old Julie-Ann Crumpling was jailed for seven days for stealing a pram.
She swiped it from a couple called Mr and Mrs Edmund Smith of Witney, who had left it outside a shop.
Brothers John and Thomas Williams – aged thirteen and fourteen respectively – was sentenced to six months for house looting.
William Clarke, seventeen, was banged up for stealing a handkerchief and twelve-year-old Rose Halliday was put behind bars for ten days for “false pretences”.
While Martha Herbery, 12, found herself behind bars for stealing half a shilling and six pence – around £1.50 in today’s money.
Seventeen-year-old John Brooks was handed 42 days hard labour for embezzling 14 shillings and six pence.
Stealing clothes was a common offence and it saw Samuel Currey given 21 days behind bars for pinching a pair of trousers and 20-year-old James Logan given a month of hard labour for pinching a coat.
John Conor was convicted of assault and robbery and given six months hard labour.
In the 19th century child criminals were sentenced to exactly the same jail spells as adults.
There are even records of a child aged twelve being hanged for petty theft and murder in 1829.
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The Victorians circulated the mugshots to warn the public of those they feared would offend again on their release from prison.
It was not until the 1908 Children’s Act that changes were made to the way child offenders were punished.
Juvenile courts were introduced and children could no longer be placed in adult prisons or executed for capital crimes – however minors could still be whipped.
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