Key Stage 2: The Victorians Task 5
Stealing onions: the case of John Walker
What was it like to have penal servitude?
Look at the section on Gaols General Informaton about conditions in gaols at the time.
John Walker was kept in prison for seven years.
- What did he have to eat?
- What clothes did he have to wear? Why would he be given such clothes?
- What kind of work would he do in prison?
- Describe his cell. Would it be comfortable?
'Penal servitude' means 'Serving a sentence that is meant to punish the prisoner'. Choose and say which parts of his treatment were punishment.
In class, talk about:
- What does the case of John Walker show you about life in the Victorian countryside?
- Do you think that prisoners should be treated like that?
- Or should the prison governors try to teach them new skills so that they will not commit more crimes when they get out of prison?
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