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A convict is "a person found guilty of a crime and sentenced by a court" or "a person serving a sentence in prison",[1] sometimes referred to in slang as simply a "con".[2] Convicts are often called prisoners or inmates. Persons convicted and sentenced to non-custodial sentences often are not termed "convicts". Ex-convict (or short: ex-con) is a common way of referring to a person who has been released from prison.

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Historical usage

A particular use of the term in the English-speaking world is to refer to the huge numbers of criminals who clogged British gaols in the 18th and early 19th century. Initially many were sent to the American colonies as cheap labour, but the War of Independence brought that solution to an end.

British convicts were transported to the Province of Georgia between 1733 and the American revolution. After this, convicts could no longer be transported to America and Britain looked to the newly discovered east coast of Australia to use as a penal colony. Convicts were transported to Australia in 1788 from the very start of European settlement and were used as labourers in five out of the six major colonies. Transportation was eventually abolished in 1868. In Australia, convicts have come to be key figures of cultural mythology and historiography. British convicts were also sent to Canada and India. France also sent convicts to French Guiana and New Caledonia. Russian criminals who were shipped to Siberia can arguably be regarded as convicts. 1. “The convict system has been rightly called a ‘Gigantic Lottery’. The element of luck was greatly increased by the adoption of the assignment system, whereby many convicts were assigned to individual settlers to act as servants, shepherds, hutkeepers, or workers in some other capacity.”

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language, p. 311 (2d Coll. Ed. 1978).
  2. ^ Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language, p. 292 (2d Coll. Ed. 1978).

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Simple English

A convict is "a person found guilty of a crime and sentenced by a court" or "a person serving a sentence in prison",[1]. A convict is sometimes simply called a "con".[2] After a conviction, convicts often become prisoners in a gaol. People convicted and sentenced but not sent to gaol are not usually called "convicts". An ex-convict (or short: ex-con) is a person who has been let out of prison.

Historical use

One use of the word means the huge numbers of prisoners who filled British gaols in the 1700's and early 1800s. Many were sent to the American colonies as cheap workers, but that stopped after the War of Independence.

British convicts were transported to the Georgia (US State) between 1733 and the American Revolution. After this, Britain looked to the newly discovered east coast of Australia to use as a penal colony. Convicts were transported to Australia in 1788, the very start of European settlement. They were used as cheap workers in five out of the six major Australian colonies. Transportation was stopped in 1868. British convicts were also sent to Canada and India. France also sent convicts to French Guiana and New Caledonia. Russian criminals who were sent to Siberia can be called convicts.

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References

  1. Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language, p. 311 (2d Coll. Ed. 1978).
  2. Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language, p. 292 (2d Coll. Ed. 1978).









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