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Explain in detail Elizabeth Fry's contribution to prison reform.

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Explain in detail Elizabeth Fry's contribution to prison reform. Elizabeth Fry was born in 1780; she was the daughter of well off Quakers living in Norwich. As a young girl, Fry was allowed a reasonable amount of freedom, as her parents were not strict. When she turned 18, she began to take her religion more seriously. This up bringing made Elizabeth a strong mind, religious person. Elizabeth was a much more liberated women in her time. She realized that she could make a difference in peoples' lives. Her strong religious beliefs led her to visit the women's section of Newgate prison in 1813. Fry was disgusted at what she saw. Apparently a riotous mass of 300 women were huddled in three rooms. In these rooms there were women who were ill, but could not afford the necessary medicines, also some were starving and freezing. ...read more.


Fry's work and success made her famous. In 1840, she was summoned to meet with Queen Victoria and she even wrote a book, which was published in 1827. In 1823, Peel's Gaols Act was issued. The act underlined many of the ideas that Fry fought for. Under the act, gaolers had to be paid, prisoners had to be separated into categories and the female prisoners were to have female gaolers and warders. Unfortunately the act was very week and hardly any effort was put into enforcing it. This greatly disappointed Fry as her own reforms were costing her substantial amounts of money. Fry ideas were striking a cord with women abroad. Women from Paris to St Petersburg formed prison-visiting committees; they were obviously influenced by Fry's own committee. In the later part of her life fry spent much time in Europe, she travelled to places like France and Ireland, and she was always listened to with respect. ...read more.


The following is a list of ideas that she highlighted- * Separate female prisons with female staff. * Volunteer prison visitors. * A core belief that prison should be used for rehabilitation as well as punishment. Fry was able to implement these ideas by doing the following- * Appointing a female Matron at Newgate prison * Setting a female visiting committee, which visited the prison daily. * Supplying female prisoners with sewing and knitting materials and holding bible readings. The underlining issue that I think Fry and her reforms highlighted was the treatment of the female population of prisoners. Under Fry guidance the female prisoners would no longer be shamed or disgraced in front of male staff, they would have a strong sense of dignity and pride and would no longer be treated in such disrespectful ways. Underneath it all, I think that all Fry wanted was to make the lives of the female prisoners more bearable, which I why I think she was true heroine. ...read more.

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