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yard is 11 yards by 6, in which there is a pump of spring water: there is no other court for the prisoners to walk in. As there is a court of record for the recovery of debts to any amount contracted within the borough, debtors of all kinds are committed to this prison : from what has been just stated it will be evident that the debtors, felons, and misdemeanants, are obliged to be together in the same yard. The greatest number of prisoners at one time in this borough gaol, is at the period of the West Riding Christmas sessions, when they are brought from Wakefield to take their trials ; * the average number at such time is about 60 for one or two nights : the average number of prisoners at other times in the gaol (committed to take their trials at the borough sessions) is usually from three to four; and when convicted, they are sent to Wakefield house of correction, or to York castle, to be confined there as the court directs. There is no chapel in the prison, nor any employment for the prisoners. The allowance for each prisoner is sixpence per day, which is paid to them every morning. Blankets and bedding and good fires are supplied. Irons are seldom used, except when a prisoner is suspected of making an attempt to escape. The prison is very insecure, but no one has escaped for some time. Whenever any desperate characters are apprehended, they are sent to Wakefield, as a place of greater safety, until the borough sessions.
Aug. 1823. The plan of this small prison is excellent; it is upon diating form ; from the governor's room the surrounding yards are completely inspected, and the prisoners' wards are readily accessible. There were at the time of this visit twenty prisoners in custody, of whom seventeen were men; thirty has been the highest number in the prison at one time. The food consists of a pound and a half of good bread per day. Several kinds of handicraft work are followed up in this bridewell, viz. horn comb making, dressing and spinning flax, making netting for fruittrees, &c.; tailors and shoemakers are also encouraged to work at their trades. A tread-mill is about to be erected. There are three dark solitary cells for refractory prisoners; they are quite secluded, and although perfectly dark, are ventilated by means of an aperture in the wall, which is traversed by an iron plate, so placed as to admit air, but to prevent the passage of light. A case occurred where a very refractory and ungovernable prisoner was shut up as long as ten days in one of these cells, without allowing him to come out during that period; at the end of which he was quite orderly, and afterwards continued submissive. Divine service is performed every alternate Sunday, and prayers are read every Tuesday: two ladies visit the prison.
* No alteration has taken place (Sept. 1823) in the manner of conveying prisoners for trial, to the several places where the adjourned sessions are held in this Riding. The mode adopted was very particularly detailed in the Appendix of the Report of last year (page 70.) The subject is again noticed, under the hope that it may not fail to excite that serious attention which the ignominious treatment of an untried person urgently requires. The mode adopted by the magistrates of Somerset, described at page 95, deserves. imitation.
WA L E S.
Brecon County Gaol.
Nov, 1823 A TREAD-WHEEL has been recently introduced. The house of correction is under the same roof with the gaol, and under the superintendence of the same keeper. The town gaol is about to be removed to a more convenient situation. There are five classes, including debtors. Divine service is performed weekly, and Bibles and prayer-books are furnished to those who can read.
Two persons only have been recommitted during the last three years; one for vagrancy, and one for an assault. No irons are at present used.
The number of criminals committed to the gaol and house of correction in 1821.
49 Prisoners. 1822.
58 ditto. 1823.
Nov. 1823. A SMALL tread-mill has been recently erected for the employment of the prisoners; it contains two wheels, the larger capable of holding eight persons, the smaller four. There has not, however, been more than three prisoners in the gaol subject to the punishment of the tread-wheel since its erection.
The prisoners are at present allowed four-pence per day each, to find themselves in provisions.
Nov. 1823. The prisoners are divided into three classes; two yards for male and one for female felons and misdemeanants of all descriptions: the debtors of both sexes have but one yard. In 1821 the total number committed was 55; in 1822, 72 ; this increase arises from many prostitutes from the town of Cardiff having been frequently committed under the vagrant Act. The chaplain performs divine service, and preaches once on Sundays; he also reads morning prayers on Thursdays, and distributes books among the prisoners. The average ratio of recommittals is about four per cent. The rules are the same as those at Gloucester gaol.
Cowbridge House of Correction.
Nov. 1823. THERE is no further classification in this prison than the separation of the male from the female prisoners. The number of commitments in 1822 was 100; in 1823 109, of whom fourteen were in the prison before, the number has somewhat diminished since the introduction of hard labour ; the heaviest proportion of recommittals is that of prostitutes. The labour consists of breaking stones for the roads; the profits are divided among the prisoners on their discharge, according to their deserts. The governor is in the practice of reading to the prisoners prayers and sermons on Sundays.
Nov. 1823. SINCE the Fourth Report of the Committee of the Society for the Improvement of Prison Discipline, published last year, page 24, a second corn-mill has been erected, larger than the first, but neither of them are upon the tread-mill plan. The prisoners committed for hard labour work at these mills one hour without stopping, and are employed each alternate hour in separate cells at labour less severe: the work at the mill is laborious, but healthy.
Irons are not used in the prison, except as a punishment for any serious offence.
The prisoners are divided into ten different classes; and there are schools, which are attended daily, under the direction of the chaplain. Each prisoner has a small number upon his right arm, so that any magistrate, on going over the prison with a calendar in his hand, may, by comparing the number with the same in the calendar, see his name, age, and nature of his offence, and likewise if he is in a proper class, and put to labour agreeable to his sentence. The great advantage arising from this is, that a magistrate can make himself acquainted with each particular case, without asking the keeper any questions before the prisoners. All prisoners before trial wear a plain neat clean dress, provided by the county;* those committed for misdemeanors the same; but all prisoners convicted at the assizes or general quarter sessions wear the gaol uniform.
Rules bave been made out for the government of this prison, by a Committee of magistrates, appointed at the general quarter sessions, and approved by the court, and ordered to be submitted to his Majesty's Judges of assize for their approbation, which has been done.
The number of prisoners committed in the year 1822, was 107 to the gaol, and 133 to the house of correction, which is a diminution in the commitments of the preceding year of 81.
* See 4 Geo. 4. c. 64. sect. x. rule 17.
In the gaol of the city of Hereford considerable alterations have been made within the last year, by which the keeper is enabled to keep the prisoners of different sexes distinct, and also to place persons charged with smaller offences in separate apartments from those committed for, or convicted of felony. A site has also been contracted for, where eight new cells, with
proper yards, are to be placed, whereby a more complete classification of the prisoners may be effected.
Aug. 1823. This place of detention contains eight cells, four on each floor: two of these cells are 16 feet by 14; four are 8 feet hy 6; and two are 14 feet by 11: these cells comprise the whole accommodation. In May of this year there were sixty-three prisoners in confinement in this prison. There are no dayrooms, no yards for exercise, no privy. At that time the sixtythree prisoners were thus placed: twelve in each of the large cells, and four in the smaller ones. Prisoners are never in custody for a longer period than sixty days. To this prison are sent police cases; persons fined for disorderly conduct, and who are not able to pay the fine; deserters from the King's service; persons held to bail, if they cannot procure satisfactory bail, who are confined here for sixty days prior to being sent to bridewell; and all persons under charges of felony, both from the city and county, whilst under examination, and hefore they are committed. There is no employment. Smoking is allowed in the prison. The surgeon attends whenever required so to do. The chaplain does not attend on the Sunday to perform divine service, but some benevolent person generally reads to them; and I would remark in particular, that the same clergyman, who is a most exemplary and devoted man, is chaplain to all the prisons in Edinburgh, and to some of the hospitals.
A building has been recently purchased by the magistrates, fos the purpose of affording some extra accommodation.