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Title: Gender, crime and discretion in Yorkshire, 1735-1775
Author: Markless, Rhiannon Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 2741 0755
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis explores the gendered exercise of discretion at the various stages of the judicial process in the quarter session and assize courts of Yorkshire between 1735 and 1775. It examines the predicament of both sexes in relational terms at each stage of the judicial process. Part one involves an examination of judicial processes from pre-trial to sentencing, while part two focuses on how those processes operated with respect to the selected offences of homicide, non-fatal violence, theft and riot. This thesis augments knowledge in the historical argument regarding gender and crime for the period between those examined by Garthine Walker and Deirdre Palk and extends the coverage provided by Peter King. It is argued that contrasting experiences of the judicial process during the seventeenth century and those of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries are largely due to an increase in the number of statutory offences created between 1680 and 1820 under the ‘Bloody Code’, combined with the effects of the Transportation Act, 1718, which made transportation to America for seven years or more (rather than branding) the statutory punishment for those who successfully pleaded benefit of clergy and a range of common law felonies between 1718 and 1775. Inconsistencies identified by Palk, in the exercise of gendered discretion in the decision-making process, were also evident in the court records for Yorkshire during the eighteenth century. A recurring theme of this thesis is of greater leniency extended to women under threat of a capital sentence, alongside the more severe punishment of women when that threat was removed. The core argument of this thesis also relates to the core arguments of Lucia Zedner and Carolyn Conely for the Victorian period, when they too observed the gendered nature of judicial responses to crime.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Crime ; Gender ; Yorkshire ; Criminal justice