The State of the Prisons in England and Wales, with preliminary observations, and an account of some foreign prisons and hospitals. John HOWARD.

The State of the Prisons in England and Wales…
The State of the Prisons in England and Wales, with preliminary observations, and an account of some foreign prisons and hospitals.

London: William Eyres for Cadell and Conant, 1780.

Octavo, with ten folding engraved plates including seven highly detailed architectural plans; contemporary tree calf, spine panelled in gilt between raised bands.

Prison reform in the 1780s

Second and best edition of John Howard's exhaustive and highly influential examination of the prisons of Britain and Europe, considerably enlarged from the first edition of 1777 and with an additional seven engraved folding plates. Howard's criticism of British gaols was contemporary with recent discoveries in the Pacific, marking the work out as one of the fundamental works in the debate that would culminate in the establishment of the penal colony at Botany Bay.

Second and best edition of John Howard's exhaustive and highly influential examination of the prisons of Britain and Europe, considerably enlarged from the first edition of 1777 and with an additional seven engraved folding plates. Howard's criticism of British gaols was contemporary with recent discoveries in the Pacific, marking the work out as one of the fundamental works in the debate that would culminate in the establishment of the penal colony at Botany Bay.
Howard's study is a landmark in the history of criminology. Like his successor Jeremy Bentham, Howard took great interest in the architecture of prisons and demonstrated that an improvement of the penal environment could promote rehabilitation. This second edition features eleven folding plates of which seven are detailed plans of existing prisons including Newgate and the Bastille.
In 1773 Howard accepted the office of high sheriff of Bedford and was appalled by the conditions in the local gaol. As a result, he began an exhaustive examination of British gaols and in 1774 gave evidence to a parliamentary committee which legislated for gaolers to be paid a fixed salary to minimise their extorting money from prisoners, while all those detained without charge were immediately released. Howard continued to agitate for better food and medical care and launched a systematic inspection of British and continental gaols.
The State of Prisons is a rich source of statistical data and detailed description alike. Interestingly, this second edition expands upon the condition of the Thames hulks based on a series of visits made in 1779. Howard reports that the pursers' weights were doctored for personal gain and that new rations of cloth and bedding had been issued specifically for his visits to the Justicia and her sister hulk the Censor. He reports horrific mortality rates on the hulk Justicia: between August 1776 and March 1778 a staggering 176 of the 632 prisoners had died. The appalling conditions and vice on the hulks led to their widespread condemnation and calls for transportation as a preferable state of affairs.
Tragically, Howard died in the Crimea in 1790 from the very prison fever he sought to eradicate. He draws comparisons between the elimination of scurvy at sea and maintaining the health of prisoners and refers to the scholarship of Sir John Pringle and James Lind, both eminent contemporary physicians of the scurvy problem.

Garrison & Morton, 1598; Goldsmiths', 12059; HBS, 7975; Printing and the Mind of Man, 224; Rothschild, 1163-1164.

Price (AUD): $2,000.00  other currencies     Ref: #4303377

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