In the eighteenth century, British regulation imposed the punishment for prisoners in different penalties, but they were mixed together in the same cells. Convicts who committed serious crime were placed with trivial prisoners. Murderer, for instance, was with people who did pickpocket.
In this era, death penalty had been prevailed for those who committed forgery, murder, rape, robbery, and etc. however, the penalty could be cancelled if the juries considered that a convict did not deserve to gain such a serious penalty. To change the penalty, a convict would face the prospect of transportation in which he would be sent to special area where he would work for a master around seven years. Penalty of transportation lasted until 1776 after the American War.
Three years after transportation penalty was ended, Penitentiary Act was made. It was intended to make prisoners become penitent. To run it, religion played an important role to fix prisoners’ behavior being pious. Prisoners were commanded to follow religious activities in church.
The emergence of Penitentiary Act did not dismiss death penalty. Such a penalty was still imposed for murderers as well as property criminals. Thus, in 1808, the politician Samuel Romily launched a campaign to limit death penalty. This effort succeeded in 1830 where death penalty was just imposed for murderers.
The change of punishment for convicts coincided with the development of cells. There were two kinds of cellular system in 1830, including the separated system and the silent system. For prisoners which were regulated to join religious activity used the former system.
_this writing is quoted from History and Crime, written by Barry Godfrey, Paul Lawrence, and Chris A. Williams
Cisompet, 12 June 2016