Article

'Likely to make good soldiers': mobilizing Britain's criminal population during the First World War

Citation

McKay C (2021) 'Likely to make good soldiers': mobilizing Britain's criminal population during the First World War. Historical Research, 94 (265), pp. 578-600. https://doi.org/10.1093/hisres/htab007

Abstract
During the First World War Britain’s criminals were mobilized in much the same way as the rest of society. Courts allowed defendants to avoid prison if they enlisted, while borstal boys, and later adult prisoners, were also granted early release. Although enlistment offered a chance for rehabilitation, criminals were also desirable due to their violent nature, and enlisting them reduced the cost of imprisonment at a time of straitened economic circumstances. How the war was interpreted and later remembered left little room for the inclusion of criminals, which effectively removed them from the collective narrative.

Keywords
Sociology and Political Science; History; Cultural Studies

Journal
Historical Research: Volume 94, Issue 265

StatusPublished
Publication date31/08/2021
Publication date online31/05/2021
Date accepted by journal27/05/2021
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/33118
PublisherOxford University Press (OUP)
ISSN0950-3471
eISSN1468-2281