Brott och straff i Västernorrland 1861-1890
Sammanfattning: How did people manage to survive the adjustment from an agrarian way of life to an urban and industrial one, and how did communities undergoing this transformation deal with the new problems which arose in connection with the change? These problems are studied in this work, which is about crime, criminals and the control of crime in a province in northern Sweden which changed rapidly between the years of 1861-90 as a result of the tremendous expansion of the forestry industry. It became apparent that the change from agrarian to industrial society did not lead to a brutalisation of people's behaviour. Serious crimes did not increase. Communities managed to survive the transformation well and were highly mobilised to meet the change. New laws were created and the control of the adherence to the laws was changed. The control of minor criminality passed over from local autonomous institutions to general courts. This change can be seen in the official statistics, which show that the number of minor crimes increased considerably. The threat to the continuation of social order was believed by the authorities to come from mobile workers, and society's control was aimed primarily at this group. Seasonal workers were, among others, controlled with the help of the drunkenness ordinance and the vagrancy regulation. It was mobile labour which felt the change the most strongly. More people found themselves in prison and for lesser offences than previously, due to the fact that fines were to a greater extent changed to a prison sentence on bread and water. Even if society managed to survive the adjustment from agrarian to industrial reasonably well, many individuals did not. Especially vulnerable groups were, apart from seasonal workers, the young and the very old. Prison recidivism did occur in the agrarian society, as did ostracism, but prison recidivism became more and more common in connection with industrialisation and people became outcasts at an earlier age.
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