In Bedford the magistrates employed a surgeon to look after sick prisoners who often arrived at the gaol filthy and infected.
The gaol and the House of Correction were not healthy places in the first part of the 19th century. It was known from the start that the 1820 House of Correction was too small, with cells too cramped and badly ventilated.
The rebuilding in 1849 gave prisoners more space, but their diet was poor enough to make some ill. Even under the separate system, disease spread among prisoners. Some were sick on entry to prison as a result of poverty, filth and starvation. (see section on prison life)