Criminal Characters-Zooniverse

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Who committed offences, and why? You can help researchers find out by transcribing the records of persons imprisoned from the 1850s through to the 1940s.

Transcribing these prison records can be a rewarding and exciting experience, with opportunities to uncover interesting stories from the past and learn about how criminal offending fitted into the wider lives of prisoners. The creation of this dataset will moreover bridge gaps between historical knowledge of crime and contemporary criminological research by providing insights into the contexts and patterns of offending across a period that saw significant legal and social developments likely to impact criminal activity, including mass migrations, changing technologies, war, economic depressions, the emergence of the narcotics traffic, and the evolution of new forms of punishment.

The scope of the data to be collected means it will enable almost limitless opportunities for research investigations across a variety of legal and social issues, ranging from the role of factors such as gender, race, age, class and physical/mental conditions in historical involvement in crime, through to the effect of shifts in sentencing practices on changing trends in criminal offending and reoffending. This will enable new understandings of crime relevant to both the past and the present.

For more information about this project and how to sign up, please navigate to
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Requirement Details
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  1. Have you been exposed to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19? See the CDC’s risk assessment guidance.

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If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, we ask you not to register. We are doing all we can to align with best practices and keep our community healthy.
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