Gaols Act 1823

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The Gaols Act 1823 (4 Geo IV c 64)


The idea of prison reform was promoted in the early 19th century by Elizabeth Fry and her brother Joseph John Gurney. In particular, Fry was appalled at the conditions in the women's section of Newgate Prison. This act was introduced and supported by Home Secretary Robert Peel. It introduced regular visits to prisoners by chaplains. It provided for the payment of gaolers, who had previously been paid out of fees that the prisoners themselves were required to pay. It prohibited the use of irons and manacles. It also required the installation of female wardens to guard female prisoners. The act was largely ineffective, because there were no inspectors to make sure that it was being followed.

The Prisons Act 1835 offered a remedy by providing for the appointment of five paid prison inspectors.

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