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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Another of our most #FamousArchives is the records of Reading Prison. Not only did #OscarWilde serve his sentence here in 1895 but it was also a place of internment following the Easter Rising in 1916. Discover more here: https://bit.ly/3dZbKhv #Archive30

While on a #lockdown, we at #BeverleyArtGallery want to use this time to #CelebrateOurArtists !
Today's #artist to #celebrate is the #sculptor Emma Stothard, who exhibited her fantastic #wire & #willow #animals in #Beverley in the summer 2019.
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The 15,000 reduction - 18% of the current prison population - has allegedly been recommended by Public Health England and the Prison Service (HMPPS). Details are set out in a submission from Prison Governors’ Association @PGA_Prisons to @CommonsJustice - seen by @BBCNews

As a museum-of-London-via-policing, we hope we qualify for #LocalMuseumsUnite, as we have the ideal archive entry for #BalloonFlight thanks to Jules Verne and the 1880s @MPSEastBarnet station library ledger...

Check out this useful intro to ‘Beyond the control of his parents’: Reformatory and Industrial Schools in Yorkshire - Our Criminal Ancestors by ⁦@lucie_wade⁩ #familyhistory #crimehistory #juvenileoffenders https://ourcriminalancestors.org/2018/04/beyond-the-control-of-his-parents-reformatory-and-industrial-schools-in-yorkshire/

Prisons Timeline - new to prison history? Here’s a basic introduction to help you find out what it might have been like for your ancestor in prison. Our Criminal Ancestors #crimehistory #familyhistory #prisonhistory https://ourcriminalancestors.org/prisons/

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