Prison Act 1877

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The Prison Act 1877

The Prison Act 1877 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland that aimed to alter the way in which British prisons were operated.


By the 19th century, concerns had been raised about the uncoordinated and incoherent nature of the prison system in Britain. Many gaols were operated by local authorities, to a varying degree of quality. Legislation in 1865 had increased central controls over these prisons, but local practices continued to vary widely. In 1877, parliament took the major step of enacting a long-standing proposal to centralise the running of British prisons. The Home Secretary was given powers over the new structure, which was delegated in the act to the new Board of Prison Commissioners, supported by an inspectorate and central staff. Further legislation was not felt necessary until 1895.[1]

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  1. ^ Fox, pp.47-8.