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PRISONS - TASMANIA. - Correspondence on the Subject of Convict Discipline and Transportation ... presented to both houses of Parliament ... May 1848.

London, William Cowes 1848. Foolscap publisher's printed wrapper (spine chipped); 144pp and seven folding plans (six with added colouring). A very good copy. ¶ Much of this is, naturally, concerned with the concerted push by the colonies to end transportation which, in concert with a fair amount of practical detail about the state of the system and planned reforms and reductions, is not without interest. Added are items like the specifications for a new female penitentiary. The real appeal here, though, is the detailed report on the Prisoners' Barracks at Hobart and plans for improvements by its superintendent James Boyd. Described and illustrated in plan and section are the present, and the proposed and improved cells and 'dormitories'; the appalling cells underneath the chapel; and the tread-wheel. The tread-wheel, punishment for refractory prisoners, was some 50 feet long in a room 68 feet long. Up to 150 prisoners at a time were in this room, "totally inadequate" as Boyd said. Of greater concern was that there was no separation of prisoners either on or off the wheel ("distressing evils") and Boyd proposes (illustrated in three of the plans) dividing the whole - the wheel and the room - into series of stalls and boxes, isolating the prisoners on and off the wheel. This is less stable-like than you may think, the meanest stable is airy and commodious in comparison. The wheel seems to have been introduced into British prisons in the 1820s and lasted well into the 20th century despite the agitations of reformers throughout that whole time. Photographs of prison wheels at the end of the century show prisoners in stalls so, while I can't claim that Boyd originated the idea, there is no doubt that such plans were put into being throughout the prison system.
AUD 450.00 [Appr.: EURO 281.75 US$ 319.55 | £UK 240.75 | JP¥ 35561] Book number 8289

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