The Rules of Brixton Prison

Below is a high-quality digital image of the original prison rules – which would have been put on display in Brixton after it opened in 1819.

It is a wonderful historical source, showing us, for instance how prisoners were treated on arrival, the property they were allowed and what they were fed.

But there is also a big emphasis on the integrity of the staff.  Conditions in prisons and the way they were run had become a national scandal.  So the governor is reminded of his responsibility to promote cleanliness among the prisoners, to give corporal punisment ‘with temper and humanity’ and not to put anyone in irons ‘except in case of urgent and absolute necessity’.

You can double click to zoom in on the document.  Thanks to the Surrey History Centre – where it is now held – for giving permission to publish it.

Prison Rules

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