• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explain why Prisons were reformed in the early 19th century.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Explain why Prisons were reformed in the early 19th century. There were many reasons as to why prisons were reformed in early nineteenth century England. These reasons fall into four main groups; overcrowding, poor conditions, reformers and changes in laws. One of the reasons for prisons being reformed was that they were overcrowded. Around and during the nineteenth century there was a population explosion in Britain. In 1750 the population was a mere 11 million, which grew to 16 million in 1800 and then increased to a massive 27 million in 1850. In the space of 100 years the population in Britain had more than doubled. The Industrial Revolution also led to a change in population density, as there were more jobs available in the ever-growing industrial cities. People migrated to cities such as Manchester and Liverpool from rural communities as the emphasis changed from agricultural to industrial and manufacturing industries. To cope with the volume required, small cramped housing was built. More people per square kilometre meant that there were more opportunities to commit petty crime. ...read more.

Middle

The downgrading of capital punishment led to more live convicted criminals to be housed in gaols. An alternative to imprisonment in Britain was transportation to one of the colonies such as America and later, Australia. The U.S.A. achieved independent status in 1776 and refused to accept criminals as immigrants and whilst Australia offered a solution from 1778, it was a short term one. Some considered the transportation barbaric as many died en route and low grade criminals were separated from families and support but compared with the conditions in the prisons in Britain, some may view transportation as a luck escape. Prison conditions were appalling. They were usually converted castles and old out-dated buildings. They were dark, damp and rife with infectious diseases. Gaol fever killed many inmates before their sentence dates and when judges and juries were also infected in 1577 there was some improvement but no attempts at rehabilitation were considered. Accommodation was mixed with no consideration given to privacy or protection for the woman against male inmates. Prisons were run as in-house businesses and more often corrupt with warders charging for food and favourable conditions. ...read more.

Conclusion

She had a high profile for her bravery in entering such situations and was invited to discuss the issue with Queen Victoria. Her ideas featured in Sir Robert Peel's Gaol Act of 1823. Peel's Act however was often ignored and Fry felt didn't go far enough. She was aware that proper measures would be costly. It is important to note that the changes in law followed pressure from Reformers not government initiatives. Overall prisons were reformed because of overcrowding, poor conditions, reformers and laws. There were too many prisoners in overcrowded conditions. The number of prisoners had increased as industrialisation had allowed a growth of population centred on cities. City life brought new crimes and new opportunities for crime so industrialisation led to inflated crime. The abolition of the Bloody Code meant more live sentenced prisoners and alternatives had to be found such as Transportation. This short-term solution ceased, as colonies became independent. The prison conditions were damp, overcrowded with disease and corrupt with no effort made to rehabilitate. However it took reformers such as John Howard, Elizabeth Fry and Sir George Paul to pressurise government for changes in laws that led to the necessary reform. GCSE Schools' History Project Coursework ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Crime & Deviance section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Crime & Deviance essays

  1. Punishment and Prisons. This essay shall describe the changes in the methods of punishment ...

    Secretary in the 1990s, was a firm believer that 'prison works', and wanted tougher sentencing for offenders (Class Notes). This rise in political interest has in turn seen an increase in the prison population; for example England and Wales had a prison population of 43,000 in 1993, which had increased dramatically to 81,000 by 2008, (Class Notes).

  2. Describe law and order in London in the late 19th century

    Police officers at first were equipped with a truncheon or were given a cutlass if they were patrolling a dangerous area but realised that they were an ineffective protection and were only useful for riots. The police however carried out a baton charge in an election demonstration and 'disobeyed instructions as to the use of truncheons...'

  1. There should be no such thing as prisons do you agree

    Jesus took the old testament idea "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life" and changes it completely. His followers must not take revenge "if someone should strike you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also".

  2. Describe law and order in London in the late nineteenth century.

    The worst case was in 1887 on 13th November referred to as the 'bloody Sunday', they charged a mass demonstration of the unemployed by the Metropolitan Radical Federation and it was done using 2 squadrons of life guards and 2 companies of foot guards.

  1. How closely was criminal activity linked to economic circumstances in early modern England?

    This social and geographical distance by 1750 was tantamount to "a division of cultures"2. Gaskill argues that this division of cultures combined with economic necessity led many of the poor to crime and the social attitudes of the time did not condemn it, indeed in poor and certainly in vagrant

  2. Describe Law and Order in the late Nineteenth century.

    Sir Robert Peel recognised the major part the police have to execute on the community. "The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder." His first rule on prevention was his main aim when founding the great Metropolitan Police.

  1. Discuss the effectiveness of the Prison system, and its purpose in relation to its ...

    facilities, with the practice of 'slopping out' supposed to have ended but many prisons built in the last two centuries the cells are extremely small and it is highly unlikely that every prison cell will contain such amenities. Another problem as been the continually rise in overcrowding most prisons cells

  2. Bullying in High Schools

    Training groups such as seminars, anti-bullying videos would prove an invaluable reinforcement to help those students as much as teachers understand bullying. disciplinary actions however should be re-addressed as some studies suggest they haven?t all been that useful (Reid, Monsen, & Rivers, 2004)

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work