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Justices of the peace in petty sessions are authorised to have them publicly whipped and for the first offence to imprison them for 6 months, for the second for 2 years. Whilst in prison they are to be whipped as much and as often as the justices of the peace think fit….

Vagrancy - Wikipedia

Incorrigible and dangerous rogues are to be branded with an R on the left shoulder and set to hard labour, and if they are caught begging again, to be executed without mercy. These statutes, legally binding until the beginning of the 18th century, were only repealed by 12 Anne, c. In late- eighteenth-century Middlesex , those suspected of vagrancy could be detained by the constable or watchman and brought before a magistrate who had the legal right to interview them to determine their status.

In , the Speenhamland system also known as the Berkshire Bread Act [17] tried to address some of the problems that underlay vagrancy. The Speenhamland system was a form of outdoor relief intended to mitigate rural poverty in England and Wales at the end of the 18th century and during the early 19th century.

The law was an amendment to the Elizabethan Poor Law. In , the existing vagrancy law was reviewed by a House of Commons select committee, resulting in the publication of the, 'Report from the Select Committee on The Existing Laws Relating to Vagrants'. The select committee found that the existing vagrancy laws had become over-complicated and that they should be amended and consolidated into a single Act of Parliament. The payment of fixed rewards for the apprehension and taking vagrants before magistrates had led to abuses of the system.

Due to the Poor Laws , vagrants to receive and poverty relief had to seek it from the parish where they were last legally settled, often the parish where they were born. This led to a system of convicted vagrants being 'passed' from parish to parish from where they had been convicted and punished to their own parish. The 'pass' system led to them being transported by vagrancy contractors, a system found to be open to abuses and fraud. It also found that in many instances the punishment for vagrancy offences were insufficient and certain types of vagrants should be given longer prison sentences and made to complete hard labour during it.

Much reformed since , some of the offences included in it are still enforceable. Colonists imported British vagrancy laws when they settled in North America. Throughout the colonial and early national periods, vagrancy laws were used to police the mobility and economic activities of the poor. People experiencing homelessness and people of color were especially vulnerable to arrest as a vagrant.

Thousands of inhabitants of colonial and early national America were incarcerated for vagrancy, usually for terms of 30 to 60 days, but occasionally longer. After the American Civil War , some Southern states passed Black Codes , laws that tried to control the hundreds of thousands of freed slaves. In , the state of Virginia, fearing that it would be "overrun with dissolute and abandoned characters", passed an Act Providing for the Punishment of Vagrants.

Homeless or unemployed persons could be forced into labour on public or private works, for very low pay, for a statutory maximum of three months; if fugitive and recaptured, they must serve the rest of their term at minimum subsistence, wearing ball and chain.


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In effect, though not in declared intent, the Act criminalized attempts by impoverished freedpeople to seek out their own families and rebuild their lives. The commanding general in Virginia, Alfred H. Terry , condemned the Act as a form of entrapment, the attempted reinstitution of "slavery in all but its name".

He forbade its enforcement. It is not known how often it was applied, or what was done to prevent its implementation, but it remained statute in Virginia until Since at least as early as the s, a vagrancy law in America typically has rendered "no visible means of support" a misdemeanor , yet it has commonly been used as a pretext to take one into custody for such things as loitering , prostitution , drunkenness , or criminal association.

In the s, laws proven unacceptably broad and vague were found to violate the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Ambiguous vagrancy laws became more narrowly and clearly defined. In Papachristou v. City of Jacksonville , U. Nevertheless, new local laws in the U. In the U. The word vagrant is often conflated with the term homeless person. Prosecutions for vagrancy are rare, being replaced by prosecutions for specific offenses such as loitering. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Condition of homelessness without regular employment or income. For vagrant organisms, see Vagrancy biology. For other uses, see Vagrant disambiguation and Vagabond disambiguation. This article needs attention from an expert in sociology. Please add a reason or a talk parameter to this template to explain the issue with the article.

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WikiProject Sociology may be able to help recruit an expert. January This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. April Learn how and when to remove this template message. Oxford Dictionaries — English. Das Arbeitshaus Breitenau. Capital Volume I. Ernest Mandel, Ben Fowkes.

England: Pelican Books.

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Social History. The Village Labourer — The great transformation. Boston: Beacon Press, K Parliamentary Papers. Retrieved 4 May Retrieved 6 May NYU Press. By the time he graduated in , he was old enough to enlist in the British forces, so he made his way home determined to become a Spitfire pilot in the RAF. Instead, he ended up in the Coldstream Guards, and from there went to Sandhurst.

Upon commissioning he was assigned to intelligence at British General Headquarters in Cairo, with frequent secondments to the Palestine Mandate, where the Zionist underground was already making things hot for the occupying authority. From the army, he went directly into journalism, ending up as both a reporter and a covert MI6 agent in Bonn, the new capital of the Federal Republic. Because of the particular topics upon which he chose to write, as well as his willingness to pull up stakes and travel the world, Sir Alistair has known a great many famous and interesting people, many of them observed in unguarded moments.


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