The English Prison and Borstal Systems

The English Prison and Borstal Systems

The English Prison and Borstal Systems

The English Prison and Borstal Systems


My first aim in preparing this book was to describe and explain our prison and Borstal systems as they face the tasks laid on them by the Criminal Justice Act, 1948. But since the purposes of this Act, and the methods followed to further them, can be understood only against their historical and philosophical background I have ventured to add, as Part I of the book, a brief history of thought and practice in the application of legal punishment and in the development of the idea of imprisonment as a form of punishment.

The systems described are those under the administration of the Prison Commissioners for England and Wales. The systems of Scotland and Northern Ireland have, however, developed along parallel lines under their separate administrations, and making due allowance for differences in scale it may be said that principles and practice are in general similar throughout the United Kingdom.

I am indebted to the Permanent Under Secretary of State for the Home Department for permission to publish this book, but it should be understood that while the facts and figures, so far as they relate to the English systems, are derived almost entirely from published official documents, the responsibility for their accurate presentation and for any inferences drawn from them rests solely with myself.

My grateful thanks are due to the many colleagues and friends who have kindly helped me with correction and advice. The text itself, particularly in Part I, speaks on nearly every page of my debt to many workers and thinkers in this wide field whose valuable publications have enabled me to extend the scope of this book much beyond my own experience. The Bibliographical Notes contain more specific acknowledgments.

May I in conclusion warn readers that while the text represents the situation as it appeared at the beginning of 1951, it is a fluid and developing situation. Information received after the completion of the text to the latest possible date will be included in Appendix K.

L. W. F.

June 1951 . . .

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