Bridewell: Full-time Paid Prison

Topics: Prison, Penology, Punishment Pages: 5 (1863 words) Published: March 31, 2008
The idea of putting inmates to work is far from new. Recently, however, it's attracting more attention from both the public and policy-makers. Historically, there have been four reasons for making inmates work: 1) to raise revenue; 2) to increase punishment; 3) to rehabilitate; and 4) to better manage the population. The first prison-like workhouses were established in England in 1557 and were called Bridewell's for London's Bridewell Palace, an old mansion that was converted for this purpose. These were common until the 1700s and 1800s. At that time, entire penal colonies were established by the powers of Europe. Does society have the right to punish? Was Infliction of punishment morally justifiable? These complex questions will be addressed in the following discussion of the rationale, justification, and nature of punishment. Rules about punishment, such as how much punishment can be inflicted and for what kinds of behavior, are of course contained in laws and regulations, so in this sense law justifies punishment

Date 1557 Event Bridewell
Description of the Event: London, originally a residence of Henry VIII, later became a poorhouse and prison. Its name has come to be synonymous with police stations and detention facilities in England and Ireland. Bridewell, was a house of correction for the confinement of disorderly persons. Bride well, area was in London, England, between Fleet St. and the Thames River. The Bride well house of correction, demolished in 1863, was on the site of a palace built under Henry VIII and given by Edward VI to the City of London in 1553 for use as a training school for homeless apprentices. The building later became a prison. Bridewell thus came to be used as a general term for a prison or house of correction. Abstract

The first Bride well was built in London, England on the site of the medieval St Bride's Inn at a cost of £39,000 for Henry VIII, who lived there from 1515–1523. Standing on the banks of the Fleet River, it was named for a nearby well dedicated to St Bride.. It was leased to the French ambassador 1531–1539. In 1553, Edward VI gave the palace over to the City of London for the housing of homeless children and for the punishment of 'disorderly women'. The City took full possession in 1556 and turned the palace into a prison, hospital, and workrooms. The name 'Bridewell' was also adopted for other prisons in London, including the Clerkenwell Bridewell (opened in 1615) and Tothill Fields Bridewell in Westminster. Many ancient cultures allowed the victim or a member of the victim's family to deliver justice. As societies organized into tribes and villages, local communities increasingly began to assume the responsibility for punishing crimes against the community and its members. Punishments could be brutal—the condemned boiled in oil or fed to wild beasts. The offender often fled to his or her family for protection. As a result, blood feuds developed in which the victim's family sought revenge against the offender's family. Sometimes the offender's family responded by striking back. Retaliation could continue until the families tired of killing or stealing from each other or until one or both families were destroyed or financially ruined. Originally the Bride well comprised three separate gaols for untried male prisoners and debtors, male convicts, and women. Inmates were put to work oakum-picking and treading the treadwheels and it operated on a silent/separate system. However, due to poor management, the regime was changed in 1850 and the Bridewell then housed only women and convicted boys under the age of seventeen. An Assessment of Bridewell

In 1834 the original Bride well was replaced by a larger prison, on a different site, eight acres in area, south of Victoria Street and close to Vauxhall Bridge Road. The new prison, designed by Robert Abraham and costing £186,000, was circular in plan (following Jeremy Bentham's 'panopticon') so that...
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