Woolnough, G (2015) Identity concealed or revealed?: the use of photography in the Victorian criminal justice system. In: British Association of Victorian Studies, 27-29 Aug 2015, Leeds. (Unpublished)

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Photography promised 'an enhanced mastery of nature' and was adopted by the police and prison services as a means of identifying suspects who endeavoured to conceal their names and previous convictions. The end of transportation to the colonies was perceived as presenting a problem with released habitual criminals so police and prison bureaucracies developed methods that aimed to track these offenders, and photography seemed to offer a technological solution. However, success was limited even as techniques and systems improved. This paper examines the use of photography by police in the normal course of their work. Far from being a valuable tool for the identification of individuals, photography was used in police stations to categorise and identify types of offender, and as a means of demonstrating the authority and expertise of the police. This paper analyses how the police used photographs for the identification of criminality rather than of criminals, and to reveal the truth as they saw it. Police books of mugshots reveal more about police culture than criminal identities. The photograph book of Kendal police is the main primary source for this study, with support from other Victorian CJS photographs.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Science and Public Policy
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2016 11:22
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2016 11:22
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/1970

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