Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/733

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paupp:rism o//

third and fourth groups are courts of first instance ; the second group consists of courts of second instance. Courts o( first instance act as courts of inquiry and have summary jurisdiction. Courts of second instance are courts of appeal from the lower courts, and have the su[>ervision of the criminal courts in their jurisdiction. The jury courts try certain cases where severe penalties are involved, political ollences, and press offences. The county courts exercise jurisdiction in cases of misdemeanour in the counties, and co-operate in pre- liminary proceedings regarding crime.

There are in all for Austria 71 provincial and 937 county or district courts.

There exist also special courts for commercial, revenue, military, and other matters.

In case of conflict lietween different authorities the Imperial Court (Reichsgericht) in Vienna has power to decide.

Convictions.

1893

1894

1895

Of crimes. ....

28,498

30,133

28,709

Of less serious oflfences

5,562

6,985

7,596

Of misdemeanours .

526,433

525,782

521,756

Number of prisoners in penal es-

tablishments (Strafanstalten )

at end of year : . .

Males ....

9,073

8,994

8,549

' Females ....

1,258

1,276

1,278

There are 16 penal establishments in Austria for males, and 6 for females.

Pauperism.

The right to poor relief is defined by an imperial statute, but the regula- tions for the apportionment of the cost are made by the separate provinces, and are consequently very various. The funds first available are those of the public institutions for the poor (Armeninstitutionen), derived from endow- ments, voluntary contributions, the poors' third of the property left by in- testate secular priests, and certain percentages on the proceeds of voluntary sales. In some provinces the poors' funds are augmented from other sources, e.g. theatre money (Spectakelgelder), hunting licences, dog certificates, and in some large towns percentages on legacies over a fixed amount. When, in any given case, these funds are exhausted, the commune of origin (Heimatsgemeinde) must make provision. Those who are wholly or ]jartially unfit for work may be j)rovided for in such manner as the commune judges propose. Besides poors' houses and money relief, there exists in many provinces, by custom or by constitutional rule, the practice of assigning the poor — in respect of board and lodging — to each of the resident householders in fixed succession.

In some ]»rovinces unions (Verbiinde) have been formed by statute to undertake certain burdens as to poor relief. By the erection of houses for forwarding vagrants to their proper communes (Schubstationen) a great step was taken towards the suiq"»ression of begging and vagrancy.

The following table shows the number of olfices for the poor (Armeiiiu-