Why Are Vagrancy Laws Passed

According to Dr. Julie Kimber, a lecturer at Swinburne University, when the penal colonies of this continent were established, the British authorities adopted and adapted the vagabond and lord and servant laws, while any concern for charity was relegated to the private sector. Two features of wandering laws made them particularly attractive. First, the breadth and ambiguity of the laws left virtually unlimited discretion to the police. Since it was almost always possible to justify a vagabond arrest, the laws provided for what one critic called an “escape hatch” of Fourth Amendment protection from arrest without probable cause. As a Supreme Court justice wrote in 1965, vagabond laws made it legal to stand on a street corner “only at the whim of a police officer.” British vagrant legislation had a global influence, first exported to North America and then dispersed around the world with the founding of the British Empire. These laws are still in force today – virtually unchanged – in many countries in Asia and Africa. In India, for example, Davis (2006:97) argues that more than 60 years of independence have done little to change the “exclusive geography of the Raj.” The Goa case study below refers to some Indian begging laws that are closely related to British vagrant laws. In the 1960s, laws that proved to be too broad and vague were found to violate the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. [ref.

needed] These laws could no longer be used to curtail the “freedom of expression” of a political protester or an unpopular group. The ambiguous vagrant laws have been defined more narrowly and clearly. [ref. needed] It is not known whether many overseers of the poor and the justice of the peace defied Terry and tried to enforce the law, or whether the military intervened when they did. The law may have led to the arrest of some of those released, but its greatest consequence was related to public opinion. Terry`s proclamation guided national media coverage of the situation of freedmen in Virginia. This likely contributed to Congress deeming that the full freedom of former slaves could not be entrusted to officials in the former Confederacy states, where restrictive laws known as black codes were routinely passed. Nevertheless, new local laws have been passed in the United States to criminalize aggressive begging. [27] [28] In Britain, vagabond laws had created a dichotomy between the “deserving and unworthy poor,” Kimber postulated. At the heart of the vagabond laws, the poor who did not deserve it were increasingly associated with the moral decay of society and a growing criminal underclass. In 1821, the existing vagrant act was reviewed by a special committee of the House of Commons, which led to the publication of the “Report of the Special Committee on Existing Vagrant Laws.” [20] After hearing from numerous witnesses who had appeared before it, the Special Committee made several recommendations.

The Select Committee noted that the existing vagrant laws had become too complicated and should be amended and consolidated into a single Act of Parliament. The payment of fixed rewards for the arrest and arrest of vagrants before judges has led to abuses of the system. Because of bad laws, vagrants and poverty relief workers had to seek help from the parish where they were last legally settled, often in the parish where they were born. The result was a system of condemned vagrants who had “passed” from parish to parish, from where they were condemned and punished in their own parishes. The “passport” system resulted in them being transported by vagrants, a system that proved vulnerable to abuse and fraud. It also noted that, in many cases, penalties for vagrancy offences were insufficient and that certain types of vagrants were sentenced to longer prison terms and were expected to perform forced labour during that period. [20] Vagrancy,119 obstructing roads and other public places,120 disrupting legitimate gatherings or processions,121 desecrating, stealing or selling revered objects,122 and vagrancy123 are related public offences of interest to the security professional. Looking at the homeless on the streets of the country, vagrancy seems to be an enforceable law? Think of Wisconsin`s wandering language: In his 2013 article Poor Laws: A Historiography of Vagrancy in Australia, Dr. Kimber argues that New South Wales and the other colonies, by passing British vagrant laws, gave local colonial authorities the power to deal with the “free and recently liberated population.” In addition to the information collected on Part I offences, the UCR Survey also collects data on offences considered less serious or serious, but relatively rare (for example, kidnapping). These are called Part II offences or “non-indexed” offences. The offences referred to in Part II include economic crimes such as fraud, embezzlement and counterfeiting; public order offences such as drug, gambling and prostitution; and other offences such as simple bodily harm, petty theft, sexual offences other than rape and prostitution, public disorder and vagrancy.