Irtolaisuus ja sen kontrolli 1800-luvun alun Suomessa
In the present study, the investigation of social attitudes has been operationalized by studying the control directed by Finnish society towards one of its marginal groups, the vagrants, in the beginning of the 19th century. As vagrancy had not in fact been officed by legislation as a crime but as its consequences (deprivation of freedom) were much the same as those of actual criminality, 1t 1s Justifiable also from the point of view of the legal protection of the contemporary individual, to look into the question of how the decision of depriving a person of his freedom was reached. Because vagrancy, according to the existing servant and recruiting regulations, reformed in the beginning of the 19th century, rested within the scope of the Governor's administrative authority, it has been expedient to choose as the main subject of study a province where the minutes kept of the Governor's interrogations of vagrants have been preserved in the administrative archives. The choice of the provinces of Kymenkartano and Mikkeli, the latter from 1831 onwards, can also be defended on the basis of factors related to the form of settlement as well as the economic and social structure of their populations. Within the framework of one province - but also comparing the results with information from some other Finnish provinces - we have studied the sending of vagrants to the Governor's interrogations, the actions of the authorities responsible for the arrests, the outcome of the interrogations, the proportion of those sentenced to public labour, the groups of male and female vagrants in workhouses and the composition of these groups, as well as minor offences accompanying vagrancy. Because it was maintained at the time that vagrancy played an important part in the spreading of communicable diseases, especially venereal diseases, we have also studied the incidence of vagrants in the VD wards of provincial hospitals which were institutions through which society exercised control over persons who were deviant with regard to their health. The present study shows that about 2000 people suspected of vagrancy were annually arrested in Finland. However, only about 14 % of the arrested were sentenced to public labour and the rest were sent back to their home districts on condition that they find work for themselves. Of those arrested for vagrancy the proportion of women was 30- 40 %. In general, the number of vagrants seems to have varied in different provinces and this variation appears to have been caused partly by differences in the form of settlement and by economic and social factors but also by administrative practices. It was very seklum that mere vagrancy was a cause for condemning a person to public labour; usually minor offences were also involved. In the eyes of the public and the authorities, vagrancy seems to have been a social status but when it is considered from the point of view of the sentences it appears to indicate some sort of offence as well. ...
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