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Victorian Crime and Punishment
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Gaols

Welcome to the gaols section

During the 19th century, gaols' buildings and daily life changed dramatically to reflect the beliefs of the time. Prison regimes came to be based on the concepts of separation, silence, hard labour and moral guidance.

Buildings and Purpose
Buildings and Purpose

This section contains information on gaols in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire; their design and how this reflected 19th century ideas about punishment and reform. It also includes reports made to the quarter sessions on the... More

Gaol Routine
Gaol Routine This section looks at gaol routine in the 19th century. It includes general information as well as examples from specific gaols and archive records to illustrate the material. At the start of the century prisons were... More
Inmates
Inmates

This section provides general information on how prisoners were classified and treated and what daily life was like. It also includes contemporary accounts of prisoners. More

Daily Life
Daily Life This section looks at daily life in gaols throughout the 19th century. The section includes general information, as well as examples from specific gaols and archive records to help explain what life in prison was like. ... More
Punishment and Rehabilitation
Punishment and Rehabilitation

This section looks at how prisoners were punished and rehabilitated. It includes general information as well as examples from specific gaols and archive records.By the mid Victorian period 90% of serious offenders were sent... More

Staff
Staff This section looks at the role of prison staff such as the governor, warders, chaplain, surgeon and other staff. The section includes general information and, examples from specific gaols and archive records to illustrate... More