Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Letter from a Convict

It would appear that Woking Invalid Convict Prison wasn't the worst place to be incarcerated if this letter extract from a convict in Australia to his brother in England is anything to go by:

... But Millbank is altogether a rough style of prison, both in the way of carrying out prison discipline and in that of prison arrangements. All is loud, indecent, rough (It must be remembered that all this relates to an experience of several years ago) In other respects you will find the change to Millbank grateful to you. The cells - infinitely the best of any I have seen (or even heard of, with the exception of those at Woking, an invalid station) are welcome beyond conception for their windows alone. These are a good size, with clear glass, and open wide, so that you can see the real light of day, and freely breathe and feel the fresh air ...

I read elsewhere that Woking Invalid Convict Prison was one of the most progressive prisons in Victorian England ... although they weren't averse to using 'the battery' to shock their prisoners ... if you can call that progressive!

Full letter published in the Cornhill Magazine Vol XIII No 76


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