1st Edition

Imprisonment in England and Wales A Concise History

    Originally published in 1985, Imprisonment in England and Wales is an account of the changing functions and conditions of imprisonment in England and Wales from the Medieval period to the present day. It is designed both as a text for students and teachers of history, law and social science and as an introduction to the subject for more general readers and is one of the few attempts to provide an overall view of the institution of imprisonment in this country over a period of several centuries. The authors have made use of original sources and other research to provide an accessible account of the subject, combining essential factual detail with an analysis of the use of imprisonment. It is therefore particularly of interest to those approaching the subject for the first time and is also intended to provide guidance for further research into particular areas of the subject.

    The authors draw upon their respective knowledge of four main periods to show how imprisonment has performed a number of different functions: the punishment and reform of convicted offenders, the coercion of debtors, the custody of persons awaiting trial and more generally the containment of society’s undesirables. At the same time, the institution of imprisonment is put into the context of wider social, political and economic forces, and related to the development of an increasingly centralised and incursive system of criminal law, as well as to the use and disuse of other forms of punishment and legal control. This discussion is supported by an account of the characteristics of prisons, the problems of administration and the implementation of penal and reformative policy.

    List of Illustrations.  Preface.  Introduction.  Part One: The Middle Ages  1. The Structure and Organisation of Imprisonment  2. The Population and Conditions Within Prisons  Part Two: The Early Modern Period  3. Developments in Punishment  4. The Prison System  Part Three: The Period 1750 to 1877  5. The Rediscovery of the Prison  6. Reformation or Punishment?  Part Four: Modern Period, from 1877  7. The Organisation of a State Prison System  8. Types of Prison Sentence and the Prison Regime  9. The Social Functions of Imprisonment.  Discussion and Concluding Remarks.  Review of Literature and Sources.  Chronological Table.  Appendices.  Index.


    Christopher Harding, Bill Hines, Richard Ireland and Philip Rawlings