Applied Criminology, Prison Act of 1877 Research Assignment (Other (Not Listed) Sample)
The task was to determine the factors that led to the enactment of prisons act of 1877.
this sample is an in-depth research to factors that led to the enactment of the prisons act act as well as the history of british prisons. The paper also explores the different individuals within the prison and how the conducts in the prison are legitimized as a result of its audiences.
Prisons are determined by the standards and rules that are set to govern the behavior of the prisoners. These rules and regulation set enables the prisoners to acquire the desired discipline within the prison, which in turn give the prison officials some of authority, which they exercise and acquire hierarchies which they use to enforce some standards that are required within the walls of the prison CITATION Bro03 \l 1033 (Brown, 2003). The discipline within the prisons have been a continued struggle of policy making by several levels of prisons but which have been influenced greatly by the opinions of the media, the public and the politicians as well as through various events that occur within the prisons.
Prison Act of 1877 CITATION Eur77 \l 1033 (European Legislation Identifier, 1877) was enacted by the parliament of Ireland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain which wanted to change the various ways in which the prisons that were in the British operated. Though fully realized in 1877, some of the changes had started cropping up as early as 1850s. A few years later in 1865, great concerns had started coming up concerning how the prisons system that were in Britain were incoherent and uncoordinated. So much goals had been put by the authorities at the local settings, which tried to verify to what degree the prison systems were.
In 1850, Directors of Convict Prisons as well Prisons Inspectorate were created CITATION Ano111 \l 1033 (Anonymous, 2011). These represented the genesis of the centralization of the prison services. In the same year, a special committee dealing with prison discipline was formed under the leadership of Sir. Gray George. The committee was found to be important for it examined the merits that were relative to the so called ‘silent’ and ‘separate’ systems, but it did not go without extreme arguments which had lasted for thirty years. However, the committee found out that some of the local prisons had not yet been satisfied and it seemed that they did not want to either reform or separate itself. In 1852, the prison systems tried to come up with ways to manage the long-sentence inmates in the England prisons after the transportation of prisoners to Tasmania was ended completely by cooperation of Western Australia, which had agreed to be taking the convicts CITATION Hir08 \l 1033 (Hirschel, Wakefield, & Sasse, 2008). This resulted in shifting from reformation to the alternative draconian system.
In 1865, legislations had hiked central controls to which prisons were operated even though at the same time, the local authorities had a very wide variety of practices. As a result the parliament, in 1877, took the boldest leap enacting long standing suggestion or proposal to bring the operations of the prisons to be managed by the central government of the Britain. In that proposal, the Home Secretary office found itself given great powers were over the newly formed structure, in which it was delegated the Commissioners of the Board of Prison, and which was supported by central staff and inspectorate.
Just before the reforms in the prisons in the Britain, the conditions of the prisons could not reflect the difference between a free man and a prisoner. However, as a result of some four prison commanders in which Sir. Edmund Du Cane was the first chairman of the commissioners in charge of the prisons, some great changes were effected. During this time prisons were merely for deterring new offenders from committing offences or convicted criminals from reoffending, a move that which seemed to have deferred from the past ideals. However, the changes were effected following various forces from the political class, the public and the authorities. The prisoners’ behaviors also contributed greatly to the enactment of the prison’s act.
In 1877 the prisons were made to be serviced by the State. At the time when Cane Du become the first chairman of the commissions, the HMP Wormwood Scrubs, one of the very first maximum prisons was built by the prisoners who started with building the RC Chapel of which later became their residential areas and currently still stands in London on the Du Cane Road which in Acton. At the time of designing the prison, he also came up with the design of other three prisons Reading, HMP Wakefield and Wandsworth CITATION Pri16 \l 1033 (Prison Officer, nd)
Why Prison Then?
The need for prison reforms was very significant. Before 1877, prisons were merely thought as a place where the offenders would be put as they waited their execution, or transportation to far away lands where they were to be punished or where they waited just before they could pay the fines that had been agreed. However, in 1840, transportation of the prisoners came to a halt and death penalty also started to drastically reduce. This made the punishment given to the offenders to be the imprisonment itself. Commenting on the condition of the prisons then, Howard John CITATION Placeholder3 \l 1033 (John, 1777) described how the prisons became filthy, corrupt and unhealthy, where the prison bosses exercised their own powers. The reforms that were later made were pegged on this cry and were enacted to tackle the unhealthy and unruly nature of the prisons that existed then.
In the same century, prisons were made to places where comfort was never tolerated and diet given to the prisoners was of very low quality and quantity and the prisoners were also denied contact with their families. Years later, it is found that the prisons were but a place where the human rights were infringed including solitary confinement, flogging and treadmill were seriously practiced by the authorities. Some other administrators also practiced uncivilized acts to the prisoners who were found guilty. For instance, some forms of punishments were invented which were greater than what was expected. This implied therefore that prisons were no longer for reforming the offender, but creating in him a beast, so that when they left prisons they would be even worse that initially, and they would be taken to the jail once again. Commenting on this, Du Cane say; a prison that when a man is put, and is he able to leave and then go ahead to commit an offence and he is brought back and he repeats the same again is not a prison, is not a prison. That a prison should make someone either fear to commit crime or he is rehabilitated. CITATION For94 \l 1033 (Fortnightly Review, 1894)
The Need for Prisons’ Health Care
In the 19th century, healthcare in the prisons were extremely low as a result of congestion of the prisoners. This coupled with the fact that some of the local prisons could hardly afford medical care that could meet the needs of the prisoners. The healthcare for prisons was first considered by the then parliament in 1774, but was later effected in 1877 when the prisons’ act was enacted, and a medical service for the prisons formed. Under the act in which prisons were brought under a central government and its services too, the health inspectorate for prison health was formed and its leadership appointed.
One of the greatest healthcare need that was necessary and even now is still necessary in prisons is the mental healthcare which had great impacts in the various prisons and in the Prison’s Act of 1877, the mentally ill prisoners had to be secluded from the rest of the normal prisoners CITATION Gos \l 1033 (Gostin, 1877).
Wilson has quoted by Miller CITATION Viv14 \l 1033 (Vivien, 2014), in chapter two says that the prisons were not a good place to be. Some of the prisoners opted to committing suicide as a better option than staying in the prisons.
The Rate of Indiscipline in the Prison
As the number of convicts increased, the ratio of warders to prisoners greatly reduced to an extent that the prisoners would find it easy to resist commands they got from the warders. In some instances, some of the prison warders got killed by the prisoners. As a result of these mistreatment that the warders got from the prisoners, they would complain to the visiting prison inspectors who in turn wrote the reports to higher authorities CITATION The52 \l 1033 (The Hull Advertiser, 1852). What hindered any action was the head of the prisons for example, Fredrick Hill would always dismiss the reports that the inspectors wrote or those which appeared in the newspapers. In many instances Hill did not agree that the reports were credible. In some occasions, warders were found off duty drunk or were under the influence of drugs like opium. These drugs could also leak and reach the prisoners, who would gain the kind of beastly behaviors which made them resist authorities. In one instance, an inspector found a drunk female warder CITATION Ibi48 \l 1033 (Ibid, 1848).
In the book: “Pain and Retribution” in the first chapter, Wilson describes the scenario in which a woman prisoner escapes from the prison with the help of one of the guards in charge. Though they both face the consequences, it can be correctly thought that the warder might have acted in disobedience to the authority of the prison CITATION Viv14 \l 1033 (Vivien, 2014).
Administration of Prisons
Before the enactment of the Prison’s Act 1877, the prisons were locally led by governors who were in charge of different counties, and who were concerned with full administration and law enforcement. The governor was also the head of the local government’s prison department. In one instance, commenting on the poor administration of the Prisons Howard says that the gaols became a place where prisoners were never let lose, unless they had paid ransom CITATION Pat16 \l 1033 (Patterson, 2016). It did not matter whether one was innocent or not, what mattered to the authorities was the payment of the rans...
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