Saturday, May 26, 2007

Free admittance for Asbo's

York Dungeon Museum is offering free admission to people with Asbos (anti-social behaviour orders) so they can see the grisly punishment they would have faced in the 18th Century.

Bank Holiday weekend visitors who prove they have a current Asbo will be put in the dock to face an old-fashioned "Judgement of Sinners". People who committed crimes such as graffiti or damaging public buildings in the 1700s were often hanged.

Museum bosses said they hoped the event would shock 21st Century offenders.

Dungeon manager Helen Douglas said: "What we're handing out Asbos for today are exactly the same sort of crimes that people would have been transported or even hanged during the "bloody code" of the 18th Century.
"While I'm by no means advocating a return to the punishments of old, I thought it might shock the Asbo offenders a little to see what would have happened to them a couple of hundred years ago".

More than 200 crimes were punishable by death under the "Bloody Code", which was introduced in 1783. These included shooting a rabbit, adopting a disguise and impersonating a Chelsea Pensioner. Hanging was the main form of judicial execution in the UK until its abolition in 1969.

Asbos were introduced in 1999 as part of The Crime and Disorder Act 1998. They were first used in York in 2000. The Safer York Partnership, which holds the information on the current state of Asbos issued in the city, revealed that almost 75% of the orders were being flouted. There are currently 41 orders in force and 27 of these have been breached.

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