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The model of Pentonville is pretty closely adhered to in the construction, Colonel Jebb having had the approval of all the designs. It will consist, when completed, of four wings of three stories, besides the basement, which last is also to be used for cells, as in Wakefield. The wing to the left is screened off from the others by a wall, as a female ward. This, of course, divides the prison into two parts, and interferes with the unity of inspection. As a mere matter of design, the Wakefield plan of a detached and isolated building for females is much better. Women are found a great deal easier to manage when removed to a distance from the men. The spirit of reckless stubbornness and bravado dies within them when they know that they are out of sight, hearing, and notice of their fellows of the other
The prison, which will cost about 100,0001., will contain five hundred cells—a number larger than the present wants of the corporation, or the prisoners likely for a long time to be placed in durance. But the city is increasing, and the municipality looks to the future as well as to the present. This betrays little faith in the improving character of the neighbourhood. However, if they can afford it, the outlay is not an imprudent one.
The cells are the same size as those of Pentonville, but rather darker on the whole. They are not intended to be supplied with warm water at the discretion of the prisoner—that sheer absurdity at the model prison. The separate system is to be enforced; but in which of its forms,
and under which of its modifications, we know not as yet.
notice here that this model system differs materially in almost every prison in which it is tried. Every governor and chaplain has his pet modification : and the system is rendered perfect in a score of contradictory ways. The old monk who thought the Æneid would be the divinest poem in the world—when put into rhyme, thought of Virgil much as the administrators of the separate system think of the work of Major Jebb. There is no unity of action among the disciples of separation. At Pentonville they insist upon separation at all times ; in Millbank they associate for instruction ; at Preston they associate in worship and for exercise ; at Reading both these practices are strongly condemned. At Kirkdale, labour is inflicted as a discipline; at Reading, labour is denied the prisoner in the sense of an additional punishment—at least for a time, and in cases of short terms of imprisonment is withheld altogether; that he may have more leisure to brood over his past offences, and commit the New Testament to memory.
In Pentonville and in Reading no prisoner is employed in any office or service connected with the institution ; this is a regulation strictly enjoined by the system. But it is not attended to elsewhere. In Wakefield and Preston, prisoners are employed in the kitchens, bakehouses, &c. ; to the horror of Major Jebb and Mr. Field—but with the best results according to the accounts of Messrs. Sheppard, Martin, and Clay. Even at Pentonville, as we have seen, prisoners are tented together before being sent on board the exile ships. Every one, in fact, stands in fear and horror of absolute solitude-a condition altogether antisocial and unnatural-and seeks to compromise the matter by according some finite dose of indulgence. Mr. Joseph Adshead-who accompanied us in our inspection, and to whose courtesy we are indebted for an examination of his unrivalled collection of prison plans and charts—suggests that in the new gaol a regulation be introduced, in virtue of which all the doors of the cells situate on the righthand side of the galleries be thrown open half the day, those on the left, the other half. The suggestion is worthy of consideration, on its own account as well as for that of its suggester. Few men have made penal science so complete a study as Mr. Adshead ; and his municipal standing in Manchester will probably give him influence enough to enable him to carry out his idea. It would certainly do a good deal to break the monotony of the prison life.
We assume, as a matter of course, that work will hold its proper place among the disciplinary means employed in the Manchester borough prison. We are strongly disposed to support the truth of the popular lines,
“ The devil finds some mischief, still,
For idle hands (or minds] to do.” But, at first, there will be no work-rooms. These will probably come afterwards. In the ground within the boundary wall there is space for additional þuildings, should they be required or thought desi
rable ; but on this point, the experience of the corporation will be the best guide. No man is in a position to dogmatize on penal matters. We are far from that point yet. All our efforts now are but experimental. For final inductions we must have more data than are yet collected.
A controversy has arisen in respect to this new Borough Gaol. The inspector of prisons wishes to have the new and old gaols consolidated, and the New Bailey dispensed with. The visiting justices oppose this project, which has nevertheless many powerful reasons in its favour. Especially it would be much cheaper, and there would be unity of management and discipline. The New Bailey is to be taken down and rebuilt. A saving of one-third in first cost, and more than a third of subsequent expense of direction, would result from the amalgamation. But no : the county magistracy will not listen to any such proposals. It is said that other than public motives have produced this decision. The county magistracy are distinct from the borough magistracy; and, it is said, “don't know them and won't act with them,-much as the “wholesales” ignore and refuse to acknowledge the "retails.” This is so paltry an explanation that we dismiss it with the contempt which it deserves. But what is the cause? The tax-payers of Lancashire have a right to know why this large saving cannot be made to them. The reasons put forth in the official correspondence are very insufficient and unsatisfactory.
THE New Bailey prison stands on a commanding site, not far from the old centre of Manchester and Salford. At the base of the steep bank roll the waters of the Irwell—a stream much blacker than the Styx, albeit less famed in
Near the prison gates, a broad bridge spans the river and forms one of the great links of communication between the city and the borough. It is the Blackfriars-bridge of the manufacturing capital. In a touching passage in his “Life of a Radical,” Samuel Bamford calls it “the Bridge of Tears.” His friends and compatriotsreformers in the days when reform was treasonfound and made it such. They were carried over it, surrounded by armed bands, to an unrighteous judgment—for the Court-house forms a part of the gloomy pile—and after a trial which was a mockery, were again marched over it to endure their hard sentences in prisons, far apart, and far away from home. Byron has not painted the Rialto—“the Bridge of Sighs”—with its “palace and a prison on each hand,” in nobler and more affecting lines than