Getting Started

Royal Courts of Justice in London

Where to find criminal justice system records

The main historic records of the criminal justice system can be found in the National Archives and local record offices. Learn more about these records.

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The convict licensing system

Following the implementation of the 1853 Penal Servitude Act, a new licensing system for convicts was introduced in Britain, where well-behaved prisoners could be released early. Many of our criminal ancestors would have been part of this new system.

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Court gavel

Assizes

The Assizes was a regional court circuit held twice-yearly, often dealing with more serious offences such as murder, rape and highway robbery.

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Port Arthur penitentiary, Tasmania

Source guide for tracing your transported convict ancestor(s)

Find out how to trace your transported criminal ancestors with our detailed source guide.

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cover of the Hull and East Riding source guide

Source Guide for Hull and East Riding

Download our Hull and East Riding source guide to researching your criminal past.

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old photo of a police force

Tracing your police ancestors

Find out more about the sources available for tracing your police ancestors.

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inside a reformatory school

Industrial and Reformatory School Registers

Industrial and Reformatory Schools registers contain a great deal of information about the criminal and destitute children who were sent to these institutions from the mid-nineteenth century until 1933.

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Hull Quarter Sessions gates

Quarter Sessions

Find out more about the Quarter sessions, which were local courts usually held four times a year in the seat of the county or county borough.

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Holloway prison

HMP Holloway: History and Sources

A history of Holloway prison, which was originally built as the New City of London Prison in 1852 and later re-designated to became the first female-only local prison in England.

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Latest Updates on Twitter

#mugshot #mugshotmonday #wanted 1942 theft from #airraid shelter in #Somerset @ourcriminalpast @suspol_heritage @CaPnetworkUK @LawCrimeHistory @BritSocCrim @CrimCharacters @policelibrary @SomHeritage @ASPolice

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Help transcribe prison record of Doris Davis, convicted of insufficient means #crime #history #twitterstorians https://t.co/R0vuIYWOhK

In our fourth issue, read how the Metropolitan #Police #uniform would significantly change in the late 1960s from "the Bather" uniform as worn by these #WPCs to the #Hartnell design - a "combination of elegance and comfort with utility" https://t.co/BYNlHuRv7T

Excited to bring you a new story this week @RexWeiner about his discovery of a cache of letters to and from a young girl incarcerated in a youth prison in Hudson, NY. #TheAtticLetters

The Attic Letters: A Footnote To A Mystery https://t.co/6xb5y3g3el

Ethel Major - Helen Johnston & Victoria Dawson talking about fascinating 1934 case of Ethel Major #murdermysteryandmyfamily repeated today on ⁦@BBCOne⁩ ⁦@UniOfHull⁩ ⁦@HullUniEvents⁩ ⁦@cccjhull⁩ ⁦@Chalkboard_TV⁩ https://t.co/GAb9mtgsk0

Join in the discussion! - book now to avoid disappointment- some sessions are fully booked

There are four sessions between 1st-2nd Sept - book your free space here: https://t.co/s5I9hq6sfR

In partnership with @MyCastlGateway & @CityofYork

This suddenly feels rather timely.. My new paper on #prison building for the Howard Journal

Many thanks to @mannheimcrim for hosting me when it was written. I hope it does some justice to all those @UkNatArcRes records I stumbled upon many moons ago..

https://t.co/3Eg0qi8UZe

@FreedomFestHull 2019 has finally arrived!! @HistoryatHull staff and students will be out in force this weekend exploring #freedom. We are proud to be part of a university that champions the rights of everyone and celebrates diversity. https://t.co/1XH42H2f56 @UniOfHull

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‘Thus emerged an understanding that white leftist projects that refused to recognize the centrality of race were doomed’ – @lolaolufemi_ on the British Black Panthers. https://t.co/GX1BM0mLCj